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XR250L 1994 head replacement

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I found a 1994 Honda XR250L, that has a cracked head at the spark plug. What I can find so far, is that head is NLA from Honda. It seems, the later '96-04 head can be used, but it needs some other parts for the interchange, to be complete. As far as I can tell, Head, head cover, cam, and the cam followers, from the new head group need  to be replaced if using the 04 head on the '94 engine. Does anyone know exactly what parts are needed, and indeed is it a doable swap. Its a clean bike, he wants $500 or it, I need to see how much all the replacement costs would be, to know if its a salvageable bike. All the ones I see on Craigslist also have the head off, with a non running engine, and there are no heads on ebay for sale, a good sign this is a common failure. thx. joe

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I just sold this head a few weeks ago. I have another one just like it thats on a 1994 XR250L that i'm going to be parting out soon. I'll sell it to you for the same price if your interested & buy the bike.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1988-1996-HONDA-XR250L-XR-250-XR250R-CYLINDER-HEAD-COVER-VALVES-HARDWARE-/192129552677?hash=item2cbbd05125%3Ag%3Au7cAAOSwOddYx0Ok&vxp=mtr&nma=true&si=69Bjw8Rw1LtMTf6ly6mqXhjt%2F2Q%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

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Not sure why I didn't see this reply sooner, I went ahead, bought the bike and bought a new head from Honda. If I need more parts, I may contact you within the next week or so, and buy it anyway. thank you for response. xrcrf100, honest price. thank you for that. pictures of the old head, not only cracked, but seat falling out.

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Update. I see a couple of other posts about head replacement for the XR250. Mine, '94 XR250L, had a crack, and a intake seat falling out. It looked like the later '96 XR250R head would fit, and eventually, I figured out all the bits that it took to make the swap.

The head, 12200 KCE 672, is an improved item, with smaller stem diameter, smaller 10mm spark plug, more fins. Its a bolt on. With it, you need the 5mm valves, 5mm stem seals, spring seat washers, spark plug, 5mm cotters/retainers, the later camshaft, cam chain, and cam chain top and bottom gear. All those items from/for the '96 XR250R. I also bought a used top cover off ebay, that had the extra finning, but the rocker were worn out, so I used the '94L model rockers, and the decomp shaft, after pulling the pin to remove it from the old head cover. I would have used the later rockers, but the right ex was Worn out. If your looking for a new head, for a 94 this is the cure.

its do-able, I went ahead and bought new springs, to go with it they were cheap.

the lower gear on the crank needed shims to center it, and I went with aftermarket Hot-Cams, since it was a bolt in, and cheaper. Below are pics.

This bike, was sold cheap because it needed a new head when I bought it, and parts aint cheap, neither is labor. I did all the work, and got a discount on the parts. Cam off ebay was $165 shipped.

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Interesting, this probably would work with the pre '96 xr250r as well, as the head and cylinder part numbers were the same for the L and R according to my searches on http://www.2wheelpros.com It seems the camshaft and a couple dowel pins was the only difference (as far as I could see).

So to swap means new head with new: valves, stem seals, spring seat washers, spark plug, cotters/retainers, camshaft, cam chain, and cam chain top and bottom gear. Had I seen this earlier, i would have tried but I now have gotten all the parts to rebuild my original 95 stuff.

I guess it also applies to post 96 xr heads (12200-KCZ-010, 12200 KCE 672, 12200-KCZ-305, 12200-KCE-670, 12200-KCE-671, 12200-KCE-305...) as long as all the part listed above are changed to... nice for us pre 95 xr owners, because camshafts are now made in unobtainium.

Edited by Sweet Delirium
shpehling and grammour
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16 hours ago, Sweet Delirium said:

Interesting, this probably would work with the pre '96 xr250r as well, as the head and cylinder part numbers were the same for the L and R according to my searches on http://www.2wheelpros.com It seems the camshaft and a couple dowel pins was the only difference (as far as I could see).

So to swap means new head with new: valves, stem seals, spring seat washers, spark plug, cotters/retainers, camshaft, cam chain, and cam chain top and bottom gear. Had I seen this earlier, i would have tried but I now have gotten all the parts to rebuild my original 95 stuff.

I guess it also applies to post 96 xr heads (12200-KCZ-010, 12200 KCE 672, 12200-KCZ-305, 12200-KCE-670, 12200-KCE-671, 12200-KCE-305...) as long as all the part listed above are changed to... nice for us pre 95 xr owners, because camshafts are now made in unobtainium.

My '94 XR250L head was NLA, no longer available. It took a few buy this buy that, episodes, but the later '96 XR250R head will inter change.

I hope this helps others understand what is involved in a real fix for the bad head problem of this engine group. Not cheap, but it can be done.

I now have the old cam, head cover, some rocker arms, used valves and stuff, cam chain and gears of the old style, I'd sell cheap if anyone needs them. 5/1/2017

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There's nothing wrong with the original Honda head.  It's some fine Honda engineering.  The previous owner must have done everything wrong.

The problem with this model is no external oil cooling which is one reason they run hot, that and lean stock jetting, especially CA model.  The late head may suffer the same fate without oil cooling.  Also, on late head, spark plug tends to come loose and the smaller intake valves snap eventually.  Kibblewhite makes the preferred valve for late XR250.  I ride the pis out of my XR250L with oil cooler.  Even without the oil cooler it was pretty rugged in all but the most grueling conditions.  11,000 Baja miles, so far, on original head and valves.

Congratulations for finding an alternative head for a great old bike.

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18 hours ago, Baja Rambler said:

There's nothing wrong with the original Honda head.  It's some fine Honda engineering.  The previous owner must have done everything wrong.

The problem with this model is no external oil cooling which is one reason they run hot, that and lean stock jetting, especially CA model.  The late head may suffer the same fate without oil cooling.  Also, on late head, spark plug tends to come loose and the smaller intake valves snap eventually.  Kibblewhite makes the preferred valve for late XR250.  I ride the pis out of my XR250L with oil cooler.  Even without the oil cooler it was pretty rugged in all but the most grueling conditions.  11,000 Baja miles, so far, on original head and valves.

Congratulations for finding an alternative head for a great old bike.

The later XR oil cooler is a worthy addition. It is commonly accepted, many of the Honda singles used as street bikes, have overheating problems, if driven at high speeds repeatedly, like a daily freeway ride to work. They seem to fare better as off road bikes, without the extreme heat generated with highway use. the later head, I would think, is made better. I looked at the Kibblewhite vavle spring combination on ebay, and just decided to go with stock items.

Another option would have been to use the earlier 5.5 valves, but I have not seen failures with the 5mm stems, as you say.

I hope my post might be of benefit to those, who have a similar failure. My repair isn't the only one available.

My head was not only cracked, but the inlet seat had fallen out. Replacement head, had smaller 10mm spark plug providing more meat between the seats, and thicker valve guides, and being a later spec head, hopefully the seats had a better install or interference increase in production. Honda is good about making later parts to a higher spec.

Looking now at how to add a cooler, within a reasonable cost. how did you do yours Baja Rambler? Did you just buy the later XR cover, hoses, cooler, or just aftermarket? pictures if that's easy to do. thanks. I'm sure others would be interested also, or link if already posted elsewhere.

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2 hours ago, suzukijo said:

The later XR oil cooler is a worthy addition. It is commonly accepted, many of the Honda singles used as street bikes, have overheating problems, if driven at high speeds repeatedly, like a daily freeway ride to work. They seem to fare better as off road bikes, without the extreme heat generated with highway use. the later head, I would think, is made better. I looked at the Kibblewhite vavle spring combination on ebay, and just decided to go with stock items.

Another option would have been to use the earlier 5.5 valves, but I have not seen failures with the 5mm stems, as you say.

I hope my post might be of benefit to those, who have a similar failure. My repair isn't the only one available.

My head was not only cracked, but the inlet seat had fallen out. Replacement head, had smaller 10mm spark plug providing more meat between the seats, and thicker valve guides, and being a later spec head, hopefully the seats had a better install or interference increase in production. Honda is good about making later parts to a higher spec.

Looking now at how to add a cooler, within a reasonable cost. how did you do yours Baja Rambler? Did you just buy the later XR cover, hoses, cooler, or just aftermarket? pictures if that's easy to do. thanks. I'm sure others would be interested also, or link if already posted elsewhere.

Lugging the motor low RPM WOT on road pulling a grade in summer heat will overheat motor.  It cools better with mid rpm air/fuel mixture flowing through head in a lower gear at 1/4 throttle . . . . same mph.  

Same vintage xr250r clutch cover, lines, and small cooler with headlight moved forward one inch.  Just the steel lines offer fifty square inches of cooling IIRC.

It's the 2:1 rocker ratio that's hard on valves on late 250, but, more power potential.

Here's one of Bajatrailrider's XR300 motors with late head like yours'.  This bike has xr400 cooler.

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Ill second the heat is a killer when running lean.  I resurrected a 93 xr250l i picked up basically free and have been getting back on the road. I left the carb stock and i could tell it ran dang hot. I finally ordered upsized jets like 135 48. What a difference after i adjusted the carb i can tell it runs much cooler.

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56 minutes ago, RBurn said:

Ill second the heat is a killer when running lean.  I resurrected a 93 xr250l i picked up basically free and have been getting back on the road. I left the carb stock and i could tell it ran dang hot. I finally ordered upsized jets like 135 48. What a difference after i adjusted the carb i can tell it runs much cooler.

I'm running a 40 and 42 is ok on the rich side but I also raised the needle with washers.  130 135 main is fine.  48 seems way too rich.  If 48 seems right, you may have a clogged fuel screw passage.

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Ya i messed up, just looked at my order from jetsrus... it was 128 and 42. I think i looking at bigger but the bike is stock intake and pipe.

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Heres a question I can't find an answer to ... 

   Could a person just purchase a complete, used engine for the newer model, ('96 - '04), and swap in the whole thing ? 

 

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