1982 & 1986 XR200R rebuild projects - advice before start?


 So I have a '82 XR200R and I just scored the boy a '86! We want to rebuild them both at the same time and learn all about these bikes. I have enough sense to follow directions and do it right, but I'm going into this with very little experience. I need advice on what to check while we have them apart to make sure we have solid bikes. What should we check while the engines are apart? Neither of these bikes have been rebuilt before so we want to make sure things are good. For instance, the previous owner of my bike didn't know there was special oil for wet clutches and used 10W30 for God knows how long. Both bikes run but mine is leaking from various gaskets. I'm going to do a complete tear down, rewiring and paint job. New tires, add a head and tail light etc. Leaky fork seals.

 Know any common issues? Best manual to buy? How do you know if chain/sprockets are too worn? I can follow directions but going into this with no knowledge. Gunsmith by trade so not a complete moron. I did rebuild a 2-stroke like 20 years ago.

Edited by Bethlehem

Sounds like you got your hands full with 2 bike rebuilds. Title says '86, but in the posting you said '96. Which is it? There are differences. I believe the only real difference between the 2 is the suspension. After '91 the rear shock can't be rebuilt. 

As for service manual, I bought a used Honda manual on ebay for $10 w/free shipping. Check on ebay, there's usually some on there. 

You can run 10w30 or 10w40, just needs to be the right kind. 

Chain and sprockets, when there's a lot of play in the chain pins, as in side to side flex, and grab the links and push together and pull apart. If there's much of any play in either fashion, your chain should probably be replaced.                               As for the sprockets, when the teeth are sharp pointed, or the backside of the teeth are cupped out, time to replace those.

Things to look for while having the engine torn apart,,, I'm not too familiar with all the things to look for but I do know a few from personal experience and from many helpful guys on here.

Make sure you you DO NOT lose the little rubber plug between the rocker cover and the head. That's necessary.                  Check the cam journals for an abnormal amount of wear.                                             When you reassemble, make sure the dowel in the cam bushing stays in its hole. 

I'm sure there are things to look for with the cam chain tensioner and other parts involved with the cam chain. 

Hope this helps, I'm sure some of the other guys will chime in with some valuable information. 



Thanks for catching that... They're '82 and '86. The bodywork is different and incompatible but engines look the same to me. 


If I'm remembering right, the '82-'83 and '86+ are the same engine. The ATC 200 engines are pretty much the same as well. I needed a new head and rocker cover for my '90 xr200r, and ended up using the head off of my old '81 or '82 atc 200. So if you need motor parts and have trouble finding for the xr, look at atc parts 

Counter shafts and counter sprocket location are different between early and late engines, don't mix.

Early center cases will not fit late frames.

electrical systems are also different.

There are two different widths of the cylinder head mounts among the XR185/200 engines, don't mix cylinder heads.

See, told ya there was a lot I didn't know. 

The head i used from the atc 200 motor has a wider mount, but spacers and longer bolts fixed that problem 

Great info

For my '82 I just bought a used gas tank on eBay. Also picked up a gasket set and chain. Also a new kill/light switch and a rear tire. My tank was cracked. Just getting the stuff I know I'll need when a deal comes along. I got the tank for 50 bucks. I've seen them sell for a lot more. I know some call this "turd polishing" but I really love this bike on the trails. It's been so freaking reliable and that's why I love it! I got it out of the barn after almost 2 years, added fresh gas and it started up on the third kick. I've abused this thing for 20+ years and it still puts out. But it does need a rebuild, or at least new gaskets. Now that I'm an adult I've decided to take care of it.

The '82 was built from leftover parts in a bike shop and sold to me a lifetime ago. I remember they said it had gears from a 3-wheeler and non-stock sprockets. Does anyone know the factory sprocket sizes and gear ratios? Right now it has a lot of low end torque, which I enjoy, but I'm curious to know how Honda intended this bike to feel. This is the '82 XR200R Pro-Link... whatever that means.

 I also have a '84 Honda TRX200 4-wheeler that I believe has the same motor. It is literally disintigrating but runs like new. Everything single part of the thing is broken but the engine is solid as nails. I'm willing to cannibalize it for this project if you have ideas. I'd considered building a go kart out of it.


Edited by Bethlehem

The way I see it, who gives a damn what anybody else thinks? You love your bike and love riding it, that's what matters. Spend all the money you want on it and make it the most bad ass '82 xr200r you can!

There are a lot of people on here in these forums that rebuild old bikes and spend a bunch of money on them bc it's what they love. I would rather spend the money on my '90 xr200r that is really really comfortable and fun to ride, than buy a modern full on mx bike like a crf250r that doesn't feel comfortable at all to me. Plus, it's fun to work on and learn different things to do to the bike as I go. 

I think most of us aren't worrying about how much we'll be able to get back when or IF we ever sell our bikes. I know I won't get back what I put into my bike, but I might not ever sell it either. 

Sorry I'll quit ranting. Everyone love your bike, build your bike, and love what you built and ride the hell out of it! ☺:ride:

As for knowing what gears you have in the motor, you'll only be able to know by splitting the cases. You'd have to pull up a microfiche for the '82 and compare tooth count to what you actually have. There might be an easier way but I dunno. 

I don't think the TRX200 would work, going on posts I've read in the past. Not sure if that's just mounting, or counter shaft length. Internals might not be interchangeable either. Can't remember what posts had that info, but it's on here somewhere 

I've never messed with one, but it seems you've had luck with them. They might work, and work pretty well, but there's no guarantee they're made to Honda specs, and no guarantee you're getting optimum power from them. If you like the results you get from them, keep running em


Edited by Bethlehem

Bethlehem - I'm in KC, also doing a 1982 restore. I got it and an '81 in boxes a few weeks ago. I'm going to assemble one good bike and then decide what to do with the rest, maybe a longer term build used parts runner???  Anyway, let's open a dialog...It would be nice to know someone going through it at the same time! 

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