some people are too smart or too cheap for their own GOOD!

I posted this in the ktm forum, but feel the message is important for us all. First a lot of people treat motorcycle repair and maintenance far too cavalier . They don't think that a dirt bike breaking down or  not running right is a big deal . It is a very big deal and can injure and kill you ... I know a lot of riders know it but a lot  don't. post,                                                                                                                                                                                               (name removed) please don't take this the wrong way . trying to use three bound on the head gasket ? you need to take your motor to qualified mechanic. you are having too many assembly problems... this is like you working on your suspension. I give you a lot of credit . but your taking to much risk with your life and well being... sad but true story , a friend called me from many states away one night with a problem rebuilding a motor . he had a recent graduate from mmi rebuilding for him. I talked to him on the phone and wasn't impressed with him. told my friend to stop what they were doing and have a true mechanic do the work. I even called a trusted mechanic in his area and had him go over and take a look it . the mechanic told him not to let his boy ride it and he would rebuild it cheap as a favor . what did my idiot friend say , the guy rebuilt it for free and it's fine ... the mechanic told me it had that look (amateur) with permatex oozing out. this part still brings tears to my eyes . his son raced the bike twice and the second time it locked up and paralyzed his son . he can text with a pencil and speak that's it.... you need to take a step back check your ego ... you have all the heart in the world but your knowledge and skill doesn't match it ... let qualified people do the work and you my friend ride the wheels of the bike  :ride: don't risk your life and heath  :thumbsup:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     If your not truly mechanical don't work on your bike... If you have the money but are too cheap ( grow up ) doesn't matter how old your are...If you don't have the skill mechanically or the money to keep your bike in safe  good running order don't ride,fined something else to do! If someone shots and a gun is unsafe they take it to a gunsmith and get it fixed . only a total idiot would try to shot with it... We all know people that buy all the tools and look and talk like they know what there doing but don't... it could be a person with a camera with all the gear but are clueless . But cameras don't put you in the hospital or kill you and a dirt bike riders worse fear THE CHAIR... If this sounds strong and offends you I'm sorry .but it is the reality of what can happen in this sport. 

Edited by mx481

Im 15 and have done some work on my bike and so far im fine but... now this kinda is scaring me... 

Sad ending....

Point taken. Know your limits and try recognize when those limits kick in.  Riding can be dangerous enough, no sense adding more variables.  I grew up wrenching and was an aircraft mech in the USAF but still buy the factory shop manual for every machine I own and follow it.


S rider7 - no reason to back off, just check on what you're doing and do it right.  If you don't know, ask.  Bikes are a puzzle and all the pieces need to fit correctly, with the correct torque, clearances, etc to work. If trailside fixes happen, redo them when you get home in a more controlled environment.


Sad outcome in the OP's post so just be careful. 

I completely 100% agree.  I am a professional motorcycle tech and you would not believe the bikes that come in to my shop.  Complete death traps and people decline all these repairs.  What is the most baffling is that they treat us like the bad guys for trying to help.  Oh I don't need new tires your just trying to make money, or my forks still work why do I need to replace the seals.  I am literally trying to save these peoples lives and they treat me like I'm the a-hole

Point taken. Know your limits and try recognize when those limits kick in.  Riding can be dangerous enough, no sense adding more variables.  I grew up wrenching and was an aircraft mech in the USAF but still buy the factory shop manual for every machine I own and follow it.


S rider7 - no reason to back off, just check on what you're doing and do it right.  If you don't know, ask.  Bikes are a puzzle and all the pieces need to fit correctly, with the correct torque, clearances, etc to work. If trailside fixes happen, redo them when you get home in a more controlled environment.


Sad outcome in the OP's post so just be careful. 

Alright, i'll make sure to ask on here for anything i need. I mean I used to find old Brigs and straton engines and rebuild them and sell them for a profit if i could.. but bikes have a lot more that can go wrong.. so i have alot to learn but im definately excited!

You're on the right track. (pun intended)   Read, watch vids, take some classes at the local Jr College if that's possible.  Robey14 - don't envy you. Every bike I get used has all the fluids dumped and a front to back check.  You've seen way more than me but yeah, completely cracked and etched tires on road bikes, random leaks and foamy oil, not to mention missing bolts, etc.  All you can do is try.


Sometimes I run into time crunches and I just drop a bike at my trusted shop and give 'em $300 to check it out, If they advise more work, just do it.  Never had a problem and never been ripped off.


Point taken.  However, at the end of the day it isn't rocket science.  Anyone with some mechanical background, the right tools, a good shop manual, and a little patience can do most any job on a motorcycle.


It is unfortunate what happened to your friend's son, but I have seen bikes lock up on the first or second ride after coming back from the shop after a professional rebuild, as well as new from the factory for that matter.  It is great that there are professional mechanics out there with skill and integrity that will give a bike it's due care.  However, in reality they can sometimes be few and far between, especially if you live in areas/times of economic boom.  In the real world money and time prevail.  Granted a reputable business cannot afford to do shoddy work and stay in business, but the underpaid/overworked tech, in most cases, is likely not going to give your bike the same care and attention that you would.  I have encountered complete stupidity and ignorance from dealers/shops, to the point where I wonder "how can they work there and not even know that?".

Over the years I have grown more and more selective of whom I let touch my bike, and my sons bikes.  Just because someone is "qualified" does not always mean they can do a better job.  For now, I will do any work that is needed myself.   This is the ONLY way I can be sure it is done right. 


Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you.  There are people who shouldn't be allowed within ten feet of a bike with tools(some work as   I just think that your post needs to be reworked so that "qualified" is not exclusive to the paid professionals. 


So I am sorry if THIS has offended anyone....

Edited by Fattonz

Yep, ego is a dangerous thing.  Had a local riding buddy who was an engineer. Fun guy but IMPOSSIBLE to tell him ANYTHING. His last mechanical genius move was to REMOVE the powervalves from his 2000 CR250 to improve the powerband. Yes, you read that right! He had a ministroke one day and over the next few months continued to go downhill. Refused to go to a real, qualified DR. Diagnosed himself with some fringe thing and would not be reasoned with, just thought he was the smartest guy around.  Never went to a DR and finally passed under bad circumstances. Totally preventable.   

Im 15 and have done some work on my bike and so far im fine but... now this kinda is scaring me... 


Alright, i'll make sure to ask on here for anything i need. I mean I used to find old Brigs and straton engines and rebuild them and sell them for a profit if i could.. but bikes have a lot more that can go wrong.. so i have alot to learn but im definately excited!


As others have stated, the best tool you can have when working on your bike is a factory shop manual. Yeah, they cost $35-$60, but they contain the carefully spelled out knowledge of the factory itself, complete with pictures. :thumbsup:

Following up from my previous comment, I just want to add another thought.  We can all agree there is an element of danger involved when unskilled people do work they have no business doing (although everyone has to start somewhere, and most can learn, but you can't fix stupid) . 


Anyhow, there is another element of danger involved when people do not do there own work.  I can think of at least two instances off hand where some mechanical knowhow has saved my ass from being stranded in the middle of nowhere...  When you do your own work, you develop a keener sense of intimacy with your machine.  I simply couldn't imagine riding out to the places I do, without having a solid understanding of the equipment I am operating......crazy! 

Sad sad story...half the fun of the sport for me has been learning,fixing and wrecking my own the end of the day it's a dangerous sport with a high chance of injury ..

I'm sorry but these bikes are not space doesn't take a rocket scientist to work on them. Buy a manual and have at it.

I'm sorry but these bikes are not space doesn't take a rocket scientist to work on them. Buy a manual and have at it.

Agreed. But far too many are so smart they refuse to even read their owners manuals, much less buy a service manual. I would bet that the same pctg have service manuals as do those that contribute to groups keeping our riding areas open.

That's a sad deal. Fluky we all prolly agree.

I think..........yeah I'll start with that :) .................if one is interested in off road bike riding or any kind of riding really, they are also prone to wanting to wrench their bikes too, or at least try to.  That's where a lot of the fun is actually of course aside from riding.  There's no better gratification than knowing your bike is tip top when you take it out, where all you have to do is worry about dialing it in to your riding pref.  I realize there are a lot of young guys out there in the sport without a shred of wrenching knowledge, and those guys, I say don't get discouraged.  Even the best of guys that know their stuff had to start somewhere sometime.  I won't deny in my early years, the crap I did to bikes to keep them on the road.  I won't deny it, but I certainly don't regret it and you shouldn't either.  We all have to learn somewhere.  Learn young, and in time become proficient in what you do to your bikes.  Get to the point where you're able to spend a entire week dismantling your ride down to the bare frame and putting it all back together by spec, and you'll understand why it's so important to spend wrench time on your bike.  I for example, ride desert trails.  In other words, I "have" to spend time on my rig, otherwise, I risk breaking down in the middle of no where with miles of walking to do back to camp.  Yeah I ride solo, but when it comes to the operation of my bikes, breaking down is usually the last of my worries.  The learning thread is simply this, your bike breaks down, you do a shady job of fixing it, it (the bike) of course breaks down on you, and guess what, you learn real quick that was not the right way to fix it.  More experience under your belt the next time you have to fix that very same thing.  Like many here say, one of the most important things you need is a work shop manual for your rig.  Those factory manuals, man, they tell you everything!  What you don't understand, you can come here and ask, or 9 times out of 10, there's a video online showing you how to do it.  Take your time, do it right, and when you get on your rig, feel confident that it won't break down on you the first 5 minutes of a ride.  These dirt bikes can take a real beating, and eventually they DO break down, so why hassle that?  The sport isn't merely just buying a bike, adding gas and oil and riding it, it's also about maintaining it.  Believe me when I say these rigs can take a lot of punishment and still keep on ticking.  I remember back in my 20's, like the moron I was then always getting high and not paying close attention to what I was doing, I took my bike out to the desert and rode it for about two hours.  When I got back to camp and decided to fire up another doobie, I realized, shit......I forgot to add oil to the bike.  But yet the damn thing ran fine for over 2 hours without oil.  The motor was shot, but this is just an example on how much abuse these bikes can take.  When I inspected my engine the next day, there were micro-fractures everywhere.  The engine was shot.  For newbies wanting to wrench, I say you have to learn somewhere, but don't be foolish enough to think you without any experience are able to tare down a motor and put it back together the first time around from just reading a manual or watching net videos.  That comes in time with a lot of experience.  Know maintenance, and the reasons behind why you should grease your suspension frequently.  Get to the point where everything is a diamond in a rough and with a little elbow grease, you can make 100% working.  If you treat wrenching as a shore or something that you just don't want to do but have to, then you'll never get the full fulfillment of what's it's all about riding and maintaining the piece of machinery that will literally save your life.  Don't do anything half ass.  If you're not sure, check it three times over.  Don't go working on your front suspension and not torque your bolts down to it's specifics.  Do the job right the first time.  Truth is, I speak for myself, but I spend 3 fold the time working on my rigs than I do riding it, but the reward of taking your rig out, firing up, riding it, and not having a single problem is all the reward I need to keep me confident I won't end up dead in the middle of the desert the next time I go riding.  Sure shit happens, just don't let it become a mechanical issue because you either forgot to bolt something down correctly, or you shaved corners trying to get the job done fast.  You bike is an extension of you, make it the best it can possibly be and you'll never go wrong.  My hats off to not just riders out there, but wrencher's that know their bikes and understand what I'm saying.  I don't only ride these bikes, I take great pride knowing they won't let me down because some stupid screw didn't get torqued down right. 

Wow ^^^. Paragraphs son, Paragraphs. lol.

Edited by J_YZ2fittyF

Wow ^^^. Paragraphs son, Paragraphs. lol.

LOL, yeah, I hear you.  I take more pride working on my bikes than writing, but improvement IS needed.  My bad!

Last summer I bought a beat up Honda Cbr600f4.  It had been crashed lightly on both sides, but ran well.  The guy that I bought it from seemed afraid of the bike, said he's had 'several' low speed crashes and he wasn't sure what was going on.  It took all of 5 minutes to find the problem - Somebody had had the front wheel off and didn't put the spacers back on the axle on one side.  The only thing holding the front tire in place was the brake pads.  I sure do like riding that bike!


I have seen both sides of this problem.  Some (like the guy I bought the CBR from) should never do anything more difficult than playing video games.  Others will throw perfectly good parts away because they are paranoid about stuff failing.


I've always tried to find some ground between the extremes, but there is nothing any of us can do to be 100% certain that the motor won't lock up next time we ride...

As others have stated, the best tool you can have when working on your bike is a factory shop manual. Yeah, they cost $35-$60, but they contain the carefully spelled out knowledge of the factory itself, complete with pictures. :thumbsup:

Totally agree with you on the service manual. It's the 1st thing I order when I get a new bike. If you can read and follow clear directions, you can do a lot of work yourself.

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      Now that the seat is off, you must take the gas tank off. Don’t worry, you won’t spill any gas any where, I promise. On the left hand side of the bike where the valve is, slide down the metal clip holding the tube in place. Turn off the gas supply, and slip the tube off slowly. Now take off the two bolts in the front of the take. This is on the lowest part of the gas tank in the front, behind the tank shrouds. The socket you will use is an 8mm socket. Take the bolts all the way off and set them aside. Now look back at the last picture posted. On the back of the tank, there is a rubber piece connected to the knob and the frame. Slip that rubber piece off of the frame. Pull the vent tube out of the steering stem and lift the tank up. Don’t tip it, and lay the tank aside where you won’t trip on it. This is what you’ll end up with:

      It may be a good idea to take a rag, and wipe all the dirt off the top of the bike if any. You don’t want anything dropping down into the carb. If you do, engine damage is the result. A clean bike is always a good thing! Now we must drain the gas out into that container. This is very easy. Make sure you open the garage door, windows, whatever, to let the fumes out. Breathing this crap is bad. Here is where the drain screw is:

      (Don’t worry about removing the carb, that comes later) This is on the right side of the carb, on the float bowl. The vent tube that goes down to the bottom of the bike is where the gas drains to. Put the jar under that tube and start to unscrew that screw, enough so that the gas leaks into that jar. Once the gas doesn’t drip anymore, close the screw all the way. Now on to the top of the carb. We are going to take this cover off:

      This cover comes off by removing the two screws. Once removed, the lid comes off as well as the gasket. Flip it over and set it aside. Do not set the gasket side down on the ground, as it will get contaminants! Here is what you are facing:

      The angle of the camera cannot show the two screws. But one is visible. It has a red dot, and opposite of that side is a darker red dot. I made it darker because it’s not visible, but that is where it is. This is where I use the miniature screw drivers to get the screws. I magnetize the screwdrivers, and use care to make sure I don’t strip the heads. Metal pieces in a piston are not good! Remove the two screws. Put these screws on a clean surface so they do not get contaminants. Now get your vise grips and set it so that it will lock onto the throttle, not too tight, not too loose. Set the vise grips on the seat. Start to open the throttle slowly as you guide that “plunger holder” (as I call it) up to the top. Once you have the throttle all the way open, take the vise grips, and lock it so that the throttle does not go back any more. What I do is I hold it pinned and lock it up against the brake so it doesn’t rewind on me. If you don’t have locking grips, a friend will do, just have them hold the throttle open all the way until you are finished. How fold the plunger holder to the back of the carb and pull the piece up to the top. Take care not to remove it, as it is a pain to get back together! If it came apart on you, this is what it should be assembled to:

      Once you get the holder out of the slider, set it back like this:

      As you can see, the bar is back 45 degrees, while the holder is forward 45 degrees to make a S. Here is what you are faced with when you look down on the carb:

      Where the red dot is where the needle lies. Grab needle nose pliers and carefully pull up the needle out of its slot. This is what the needle looks like once it is out.

      Now we must move the carb to take the bowl off. Untie the two straps on the front and back of the carb. Don’t take them off; just loosen them until the threads are at the end. Take the front of the carb off the boot and twist the bowl as much as you can towards you. Tie the back tie down to that it does not rewind back on you. This is what you have:

      Now we must take off the bowl. Some people take that hex nut off to change the main jet, which you can, but you cannot access the pilot jet, and you can’t take out the needle jet (a piece the needle slides into), so we need to take it off. It’s just three bolts. As we look at the underside of the carb, this is what you will see:

      The bolts with the red square dots are the bolts you will be removing. These are Phillips head bolts, and the bolt with the blue dot is your fuel screw. This is what you will adjust when the time comes, but keep in mind where that bolt is. You need a small flat blade to adjust it.
      Well, take those screws off, and you are faced with this:

      The blue dot is for cross reference, which is the fuel screw once again. The green dot is the pilot jet. You can remove this using a flat blade screwdriver. Just unscrew it and pull it out. Once you pull it out, set it aside and put in the 45 pilot jet you got. The red dot is the main. You remove this by using a 6mm socket. Just unscrew it. If the whole thing turns, not just the jet, but the 7mm sized socket under it, don’t worry, that piece has to come out as well. If it doesn’t, use a 7mm to unscrew it off. Here is what the jets look like:

      Pilot Jet

      Main jet attached to the tube. Take the main jet off by using an open end wrench and a socket on the jet. Again, it screws right off.
      Here is what you are faced with if you look form the bottom up.

      From left to right: Main jet, Pilot Jet, Fuel screw. Now in the main jet’s hole, if you look closely, you see a bronze piece in the middle of that hole. We are going to take this off. Since I did not do this part (I only changed my pilot jet when I took these pictures) there are no pictures taken for this section but this is really simple to do if you’ve been a good student and know where things go. You should know anyways, you have to put the bike back together!
      (Notice: There have been discussions about these needle jets being the same. Only change this needle jet if the one you have is worn out. If you do not have the old needle, a older drill bit bigger than 3/20ths (.150), and smaller than 11/100 (.11") Use the tapered side of the bit, set it down in the hole and tap it out carefully.)
      Now take your OLD needle, I repeat, the OLD needle because what you are going to do next will ruin it. Pull the clip off with your needle nose pliers, or a tiny screwdriver to pry it off. Then put the needle back in the hole where it goes. That’s right, just to clarify, you took off the needle, and you put the needle back in the hole with no clip. Slide the point side first, just as it would go normally. Now if you look at the bottom of the carb, the needle is protruding past the main jets hole. Grab another pair of locking pliers (vise grips as I call them) and lock it as tight as you can on the needle. Pull with all your might on the needle. Use two hands. Have a friend hold the carb so you don’t pull it off the boot. Tell them to stick their fingers in the hole that goes to the engine, and pull up. After pulling hard, the needle jet should slip right off. Then notice which side goes towards the top of the carb. There is one side that is a smaller diameter than the other. Take the new needle jet, and push it up into the hole the way the old one was set. Just get it straight. Take the tube the main jet goes into, and start threading it in. Once you can’t tie it down anymore with a ratchet, unscrew it and look at the needle jet to make sure it’s set. That’s it for the needle jet. Now let’s start putting the carb back together.
      (Notice: Many people have destroyed jets and such by overtighting them! Use the thumb on the head of the wrench and two fingers on the wrench to tighten it down.)
      Thread the main jet into the tube it goes into, and then start putting it back on the carb. Thread the pilot jet in as well if you haven’t done so already. Remember these carburetor metals are soft as cheese, so don’t over tighten the jets very much. What I do is I put my thumb on the top of my ratchet, and use two fingers closest to the head of the ratchet to tighten the jet. That’s how tight I go when I tie them back in.
      Now before we put the carb back together, let’s adjust the fuel screw. Take a small screwdriver, and start screwing in the fuel screw until it sets. Again, do not over tighten, just let it set. Then count back your turns. Count back 1.75 turns.
      Now we must put the bowl back on. The white piece that came off with the bowl goes back as followed:

      If you look directly under the carb, the round hole is aligned with the pilot jet. Take the float bowl, and put it back on.
      Untie the rear clamp and the front clamp as well. Slip the carb back the way it used to. Make sure that it is straight up and down with the rest of the bike. The notch on the front boot should be aligned with the notch on the carburetor, and the notch on the carburetor should be in that slot. Tie the clamps down securely.
      Let’s put the needle in. These are how the needle numbers go:

      The top clip position is #1, the lowest one, closest to the bottom, is #5. (The picture says six but it is five in this case) For reference #1 is the leanest position, while 5 is the richest. I put the clip in the 4th position. Read at the bottom of the page and you can know what conditions I ride in, and you can adjust them to your preference.
      Put the clip in the new needle, slip it in. Take the vise grips off your grips and start guiding the plunger holder down to the bottom. Remember not to let that assembly come apart because it is a pain in the ass to get it back together! Once you get it to the bottom, put the two screws on, and then put the cover on.
      Now that you have done the carburetor mods, there is still one thing you want to do to complete the process. Don’t worry, this takes less than a minute! On the top of the air box there is a snorkel:

      As you can see, you can slip your fingers in and pull it out. Do that. This lets more air in to the air box. Don’t worry about water getting in. There is a lip that is about 1/8” high that doesn’t let water in. When you wash, don’t spray a lot under the seat, but don’t worry about it too much.
      The next thing you must do is remove the exhaust baffle. The screw is a torx type, or you can carefully use an allen wrench and take care not to strip it:

      The screw is at the 5 o’clock position and all you do is unscrew it, reach in, and yank it out. This setup still passes the dB test. The bike runs 92 dB per AMA standards, which is acceptable. Just carry this baffle in your gear bag if the ranger is a jerk off. I’ve never had a problem, but don’t take chances.
      That’s it! Start putting your tank on, seat, and covers. After you put the seat on, pull up on the front, and the middle of the seat to make sure the hooks set in place.
      Turn on the bike, and take a can of WD-40. Spray the WD-40 around the boot where it meets the carburetor. If the RPM rises, you know you have a leak, and the leak must be stopped. You must do this to make sure there are no leaks!
      Here is my configuration:
      04’ 230F
      Uni Air filter
      132 Main Jet
      45 Pilot Jet
      Power up needle, 4th clip position
      Fuel screw 1.75 turns out
      Riding elevation: 2000ft - Sea level
      Temperature – Around 60-90 degrees
      Spark Plug Tips
      When you jet your carb, a spark plug is a best friend. Make sure your spark plug is gapped correctly, (.035) but that’s not all that matters. You want to make sure the electrode is over the center, and you want the electrode to be parallel, not like a wave of a sea. Put in the plug, and run the bike for 15 mins, ride it around too then turn it off. Then take off the spark plug after letting the bike cool. The ceramic insulator should be tan, like a paper bag. If it is black, it is running rich, if it is white, it is running lean. The fuel screw should be turned out if it is running lean, and turned in if it is running rich. Go ¼ turns at a time until your plug is a nice tan color.
      Making sure your bike is jetted correctly
      While you are running the bike for those 15 mins to check the plug color, you want to make sure it’s jetted correctly now. Here is what the jets/needle/screw control:
      0- 3/8 throttle – Pilot jet
      ¼ to ¾ throttle – Needle
      5/8 – full throttle – Main jet
      0-Full – Fuel screw
      Pin the gas, does it bog much? Just put around, is it responsive? When you’re coming down a hill, the rpm’s are high and you have no hand on the throttle, does it pop? If it pops, it is lean and the pilot jet should be bigger. If it’s responsive your needle is set perfectly. You shouldn’t have to go any leaner than the 3rd position, but I put mine in the 4th position to get the most response. Your bike shouldn’t bog much when you have it pinned. If it does it is too rich of a main jet.
      Determining the plug color, you will have to mess with the fuel screw.
      That’s it, have fun jetting, and any questions, post on the forum, but remember to do a search first.
      Also, if your bike requires different jets due to alititude, humidity, or temperature, please post the following so we can better assist you:
      Average temperature
      Altitude (If you do not know this, there is a link in the Jetting forum that you can look up your alititude)
      Average Humidity
      What jets you are currently running
      What the problem is (If there is one)
      Just do that and we'll help you out the best we can.
      EDIT: The girl using this login name is my girlfriend. You can reach me on my new login name at 250Thumpher
      Then again, you're more than welcome to say hi to her!
      -Phill Vieira
    • By kashlak
      JUst curious of how many bikes,quads,trikes people owned over the years and what they were?
      78 honda atc 70
      85 honda atc 110
      ?? handa trail 70
      78 yamaha mx 80
      85 yamaha yz 60
      82 yamaha it 125
      85 kawasaki kxt 250 tecate
      79 yamaha yz 400
      86 yamaha yz 125
      85 yamaha yz 80 (playbike)
      92 kawasaki kx 250
      93 yamaha xt 350
      and last but not least a 99 kawasaki kx 250
    • By Bosch232
      Were the XL's the predecessor to the XR's?
      I have a friend who's looking at an old XL350, and I don't know anything about these bikes.