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Honda XL500R Advice

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Hello all, 

I really wasn’t sure where this post would be best located so I chose XR250R/400.

I traded a mountain bike for a 1982 Honda XL500R yesterday. Prior to my trade, it has been sitting for roughly two years. The engine was rebuilt professionally with a 10.5:1 wiseco piston in Colorado, but to my knowledge hasn’t run since the rebuild. Replacing the 6V battery and locating a short in the positive connection have given me full electrical functions. In addition, I changed oil and drained the tank of foul gasoline, with 93 back in. No sediment was visible. Petcock is functional and has great flow. Tonight I will be cleaning the carb and replacing jets with factory size. Though the electrical is an absolute rats nest, I have solved enough to receive spark when testing on the cylinder head. Brainstorming has lead me to a few different possible problems: 

1) now in TN, the jets are too lean to provide adequate fuel in a lower elevation 

2) fouled carburetor from old fuel

3) This is my first kickstart bike, and I just don’t know how to kick it. 

4) inaccurate valve adjustment or timing? 

In regards to kickstarting, I am following factory procedure to the best of my abilities, but it is difficult to discern when top dead center is reached. My process for kicking has consisted of turning the engine over once with the decompression lever activated. From there, I’m usually getting 1 1/2 cycles of the Kickstarter before I feel the tension against the my foot. Once I reach this point, I allow the kicker arm to return 1 click before using full strength to complete the cycle, and getting my foot off it to avoid unnecessary pain. Even at 180 pounds and fit, the process seems sluggish and incorrect. Are there any errors noted from my above starting procedure? While I understand the XL is difficult to start, and I do have a higher compression piston, the amount of resistance present seems excessive. 

 

878F8D97-7C25-43CA-8740-811559635B0F.jpeg

Edited by Budgetbuilding

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Sounds about right, needs a solid kick, from top to all the way down, nothing tentative will work. XL's wont kick back badly, very heavy flywheel. 

Generally use full choke and no gas when cold, dont twist throttle. 

Assume bike was running ok before storage so dont fiddle with any settings yet.

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Get a friend or two to help you roll start it.  Good luck

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I'm with Muzz as well. I had an xt550 a few years newer and I don't remember it being finicky to start. Muzz explained the drill but depending on circumstance I could blast through with 1 kick (factory piston) not using the decomp lever. I believe my 550 had an internal decomp assembly as well(??) Once everything is tuned up correctly it's not such a "task". Mine was a "1 kick starter" and really took a beating without complaining.

My XR650R was noticeably more resistant at TDC without the decomp but in emergencies I could still do without. You'll get used to it.

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Find a hill and bump start it. If you can’t get it started that way, you won’t get it started.

As for kicking it, unsure about this bike, but my XR400 will ONLY start at exactly TDC and no where else.

Slowly kick through the stroke until you hit a strong wall of resistance. There are two walls, 1 is right the other is wrong.

So kick slowly through until you find the first one. Kick hard and all the way through.

If that didn’t work, kick through and find the same wall again, then continue kicking until you run into another probably more strong wall of resistance.

Let the kicker return to the top of the stroke, kick hard all the way through the stroke to the bottom of the stroke.

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You want to get the piston just past tdc, then kickstart it. That way you're not fighting compression kicking it. If you just randomly kick it, that when you're more likely to get kickback. Once you feel the compression getting tight, use the decompressor, and just nudge the piston a little more, past top dead center. I'm only 130 lbs, so on my old wore out xl500, I have to kick while standing with the bike on the kick stand.

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I didn’t use the decompression lever much on mine. This YouTube video is how I used to start mine. 

 

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I didn’t use the decompression lever much on mine. This YouTube video is how I used to start mine. 
 


Great video. Super cool bike.

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This may help, I had the same question for my 81 Xl500s and located this from somebody off of Craigs list

Make sure you are getting spark and gas, the key is on and the kill switch is set to ‘run’ (might want to test this to make sure its not what has cut out on you).

 

Push down on the kick starter, relatively slow but not too slow because you need to move the piston fast enough to build compression. You will feel the engine come up on compression. It should be obvious when you are there because it will get very hard to push it any farther.

 

If it feels like it just wants to keep going kick it again (not to fast) until you feel it wanting to stop.

 

Once there pull in the compression release and slowly move the starter just past that point in the stroke, it wont be very far, maybe only about 1/8 of the total kick stroke.

 

Release the compression release lever and let the kick starter return to the top of the stroke. Do not pull in the lever again.

 

Now give it all you got and let er rip. Don't come up short on the kick either, follow through the kick all the way down because it is around the bottom of the kick where it will fire so it takes a full kick to start it.

 

This has always worked for me on this bike and on a DR350 with kick start.  If its hard to kick, or stops suddenly, you’re not doing it right.  If you DON’T get just past TDC with compression, and then it occurs partway through your kick attempt – its going to stop immediately, probably hurt, and if done repeatedly, can sometimes stress the engine cover to the point it cracks it.  (it won’t start either!)

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Hello all, 
I really wasn’t sure where this post would be best located so I chose XR250R/400.
I traded a mountain bike for a 1982 Honda XL500R yesterday. Prior to my trade, it has been sitting for roughly two years. The engine was rebuilt professionally with a 10.5:1 wiseco piston in Colorado, but to my knowledge hasn’t run since the rebuild. Replacing the 6V battery and locating a short in the positive connection have given me full electrical functions. In addition, I changed oil and drained the tank of foul gasoline, with 93 back in. No sediment was visible. Petcock is functional and has great flow. Tonight I will be cleaning the carb and replacing jets with factory size. Though the electrical is an absolute rats nest, I have solved enough to receive spark when testing on the cylinder head. Brainstorming has lead me to a few different possible problems: 
1) now in TN, the jets are too lean to provide adequate fuel in a lower elevation 
2) fouled carburetor from old fuel
3) This is my first kickstart bike, and I just don’t know how to kick it. 
4) inaccurate valve adjustment or timing? 
In regards to kickstarting, I am following factory procedure to the best of my abilities, but it is difficult to discern when top dead center is reached. My process for kicking has consisted of turning the engine over once with the decompression lever activated. From there, I’m usually getting 1 1/2 cycles of the Kickstarter before I feel the tension against the my foot. Once I reach this point, I allow the kicker arm to return 1 click before using full strength to complete the cycle, and getting my foot off it to avoid unnecessary pain. Even at 180 pounds and fit, the process seems sluggish and incorrect. Are there any errors noted from my above starting procedure? While I understand the XL is difficult to start, and I do have a higher compression piston, the amount of resistance present seems excessive. 
 
878F8D97-7C25-43CA-8740-811559635B0F.thumb.jpeg.ff561a1bfe29d64a14df9d4fd4eb3df8.jpeg

I see a whitewater boat in the background. To the unsuspecting, ignorant non boaters this is not a concern. I however know the boater life all too well. If the bike was previously owned by a ww boater, then I’d say it’s likely got a build up of cannabis tar in the intake. If you are the ww boater then I just have to ask why all the concern with details? Just park it in the yard and wait until the mechanic boater runs out of herb and hook him up??‍♂️ in trade for a tune up[emoji847]

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Success! I performed a deep cleaning on the carburetor today. The pilot and main jet were both clogged. heavily. I’m definitely getting the hang of kicking this thing, and finding tdc. The final result, it runs! First time in over 2 years! While cleaning the carb, I ensured reset of all existing settings.

1st startup, it idled incredibly high, I let it run for a minute or so before turning it off. I threw the seat on, and thought of any ideas to lower the idle in the moment. I noted the throttle stop screw was fully tightened, loosening it lowered the idle, but too much. 2nd and 3rd startups, the engine ran far too slow, and adjusting the choke was the only way to maintain power. If any throttle was used, it bogged out. I’m guessing that means I’m running lean.  

After those attempts, I couldn’t get it to turn over. Late night and bad lighting haha. I’m guessing my best bet from here would be to pull the carb again, and adjust my pilot screw settings, the right way haha. Opinion, I despise the choke cable, it complicates the process, I want the ability to adjust it directly from the carb. The handlebars are so cluttered and archaic, hoarding functions. I want to clean house, grounding my unused turn signals and horn, and eliminating the choke cable.

It came with an XR500 exhaust, I installed it, and this thing is loud. Very loud, but not  very pleasing. I’m thinking about using a supertrapp and modifying existing pipe from the old XL exhaust to fit it. I know it’ll be louder, but hopefully cleaner. I hope to get these items complete soon. Primarily the running part haha.

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14 hours ago, DcK said:


I see a whitewater boat in the background. To the unsuspecting, ignorant non boaters this is not a concern. I however know the boater life all too well. If the bike was previously owned by a ww boater, then I’d say it’s likely got a build up of cannabis tar in the intake. If you are the ww boater then I just have to ask why all the concern with details? Just park it in the yard and wait until the mechanic boater runs out of herb and hook him up??‍♂️ in trade for a tune upemoji847.png

This is what it looked like before me.... complete but not running, now incomplete and kinda running haha. WW is all about details. It’s the same flow and focus wrenching! I just need to expand my knowledge!

BD800018-EA49-44DB-AB33-21DD286921AB.jpeg

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The '82 XL500R is 12V, earlier ones (XL500S) were 6V.

You don't need to mess with the compression release lever, I only use that to cycle out bad gasses if it stalled funny or I crash it or something. The automatic compression release will do the job if you treat it right. Roll through the stroke until it stops on compression. This might take a couple tries if compression went by at the top of the stroke where the auto comp release was open. Bring the kicker to the top and kick all the way through with commitment. On a cold start, you might give the throttle two full twists to let the accelerator pump give it a little prime.

Adjusting the valves, use two feeler gauges because each set of valves are on the same rocker arm. It'll tilt just a little and mess up the adjustment if you have a feeler gauge under only one side.

The rocker box will always leak oil, don't worry about it. If you've got the motor out and rocker box off, put Helicoils in all the 6mm holes as they love to strip out.

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