Jump to content

Honda 1980 XL500s restoration guidance

Recommended Posts

I'm torn, I'm restoring a 1980 XL500s I got it because I wanted a classic Honda to do up and enjoy on and off road and I'm not sure if I should just give the engine a tickle and restore it to its factory Honda greatness or go all out custom scrambler.

Any opinions on mods or purist opinions are welcome..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She is pretty rough, tank is covered in dings, bottom end sounds OK but I might pull the whole thing down and do the lot while I've got the motor out. What's experience with the bottom end on these? The rings are totally shot, chews alot of oil and blows a heap of smoke but no real rattles or knocks, will I get away with just doing top end? Am going to get the dremil out and clean up the head ports while I'm at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, where can I get flange gaskets and rings? One of the exhaust manifold bolt holes is stripped, I was just going to drill out and tap one size bigger, or even helicoil it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aftermarket gasket sets should have all you need including exhaust washers etc.

      No real issues with splitting cases.  Couple of things to watch when re-assembling tho,, shafts have a locating pin on the bearing outer which can make it  tricky 

to get case halves back together. Basicly if they dont fit easily, pins have moved out of position. IE> use no force.

  Balance chain is easier to time after assembly, despite what various manuals state,

        Do you have any probs with box jumping out of 1st gear?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've barely ridden it, had no issues with first on the short squirts I have given it.
Good advice so far, I'm dual qualified auto elec and mechanic, never rebuild a motorbike engine before though, I have built, including porting, a 2 stroke motorised bicycle engine, the main thing that gives me pause is the gearbox, I've never even done a different let alone a gearbox, from what I can see with research and pics though they are pretty straight forward..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A mate of mine has an XR500 in bits with a seized motor im thinking about buying off him and making a frankenbike, using the front end for the disc brakes and smaller wheel and maybe the rear for brakes as well.
Will it all fit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there is a prob with 1st its been apart before and assembled with pin wrong. If not,, all good!

  Later front wont fit straight in because your bike has loose ball bearings in the steering stem, and later bikes have taper bearings.

     Tapers can be fitted if you find the right ones, AllBalls have a guide online. (I've not looked at it tho.....)

          Rear will still be drum on any later 500, but will need a locating lug welded on your swingarm as the locating arm is not on later bikes.

              as the 500 cases split horizontally, its a good box to learn on. You can spin the shafts and change gears and watch it do its thing.

      Bloody fascinating!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These older XL's are getting rare in original trim. If you went for a franken bike you would still have to rebuild the engine and some of the running gear. Why not go just that little bit farther and do it back to stock. The rare silencer is there and looks to be ok. I guess it still has the weird 23" front wheel. Keep it !

Tanks can be re-finished, you can make a new stock wiring loom if required. There are countless modified XL and XR 500's out there. Stock is good, and it will be an appreciating asset.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True! Yes the original muffler is still in good nic, I got my top end rebuild kit today, I'm keen as to chuck that in and take it for a blat with its full compression and all the ponies it had from the factory..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×