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XR600R 1986 XR600R build

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Figured I would do a write up on my recently purchased 1986 XR600R.  It's going to be a project but I have plenty of experience to do the full rebuild and between my two brothers I have access to quality welding equipment, shop with tools, mill, I do upholstery etc.  

Before I get into the bike itself, my end goal is to have a fun riding bike that will take me anywhere around town and down any dirt road and some actual off road riding.  I intend to do a lot of the mods or upgrades described on this site to make it more reliable, run cooler and simply funner to ride.  Plus I'm older and the bike is old school.  I thought that maybe by describing a lot of the mods in one thread that it would be sort of a gateway to help anyone else looking to find what them easier.  Some of the posts are older.

The engine was said to have had new gaskets and was in good condition and the electrical was hacked up.  When I looked at bike in person, the engine was put together and sitting in the bare frame w/swing arm attached.  Everything else was in boxes and most of the typical more expensive items were there and the forks looked straight.  The plastic had all been painted red and the frame had a new coat of black paint on it.  I could see gasket material between the head and cylinder as well as between the cylinder and gearbox (so thinking if I were to purchase it I would be doing a total tear down).  It was pretty clean and with everything that was included, I decided that for the $300 price tag, it was worth it even if I had to part it out to recoup my money.  I brought it home and tore it apart.

There were new gaskets put in the engine by the previous owner but the amount of gasket material used was insane.  The cam isn't in the best shape. The center journal on the head has some wear.  It will need some cleaning up and possibly some repair.  I’ve attached pictures of the engine, some more detailed to show condition.

While it is this far apart it’s going get some new parts.  The previous owner didn’t know much about rebuilding engines and said he thought he put it together correctly.  So I feel like I need to check it all for myself and have peace of mind that everything is correct. 

The list is not in any order and while I have it apart I will do the first few.

Hot Cam- with a newer valve cover to use the Hot Cam for newer bikes.   I would like to put a cam in it and from what I have read the Hot Cams Stage 1 seems to be a quality cost effective part and give the bump in power I am looking for.  What other choices for a mild cam that will work with the mostly stock head setup?  I will be staying with the dual carbs, c;leaned and jetted properly.  I like them.

Transmission mod of 2nd and 5th gears- Check the kick start gears, etc.  The transmission is a no brainer since it’s already torn down this far and a lot of my riding will be on the street, some of it will be 60 mph plus between the local towns.  I will be waiting on some of the other parts as well so if I have to order 5th gear overseas I have some time.  I will check everything else once I get in there so I hopefully won’t have to tear it down that far again.

628 cc piston and bore- (it’s already been bored over).  Hone and rings or a bore and rings.

Upper oil mod for the cam-  The upper oil mod may or may not happen depending on how things look when I put it back together.  I have read where some say it is not needed but those that have done it really like it.

Oil cooler mod- I feel this is a must to keep it cooler riding in traffic.  I haven’t decided what I want to use, how big I want to go and where to mount it.  Because these are expensive to purchase a kit and I have access to have mill work done for nothing I can kind of design it to fit where I want it when I get that far.

Stator rewind- As for the stator I haven’t been able to determine the condition of the one I currently have.  I have plenty of wire left over from when I did one on a CRF250.

Header- The header is also up in the air as to whether or not I really need it.  If I can find a good XL600 header at a decent price I may use that one or I might bend my own and decide on the muffler after that.

Pipe- Most likely something aftermarket mainly because they are lighter and look better.  I have a muffler that came with the XR and is from a YZ50F.  Its' n good shape and I don't know if I'm going to gut it and use it or not.  It might be a dumb idea but I had thoughts of an undertail muffler such as what is run on the 450 quads.

LED headlight- similar to the Baja Designs light but will probably do my own design and will depend on what I use for a number plate.  I’m not real fond of the number plate that ends up looking like something out or “Transformers”.

CRF450 forks and triple clamp- This most likely will be one of the last things I do because I can ride it with what I have.  I'm not set on a specific brand or model.  It may depend on pricing and a great deal that comes around on whatever bike will fit it.

Build the parts for a Summer style stabilizer- They are difficult to find in usable shape at a decent price. 

KTM  fenders- I like the KTM fenders and their shape.  Every XR I have had, at any kind of real speed the front fender bends from the wind pressure and either hits your front tire or bends to one side.  I've cut the tips off which helps them not hit the front tire but they still bend at speed.  Probably black fenders

Fuel tank-I have had the Acerbis tank in the pics for a while.  The only issue I have with it is it is molded in olive green.  It has been painted (not by me) red and blue at some point but that can be removed.  I suppose I will paint it white or make the olive color match into some sort of theme.

Speedometer- I will probably use something similar to the Trailtech but not 100% sure on that one.  I have LED’s for turn signals and a small battery to use if needed.  

Odds and ends like redoing the seat foam, riser bar and some of the other ergonomics will get done when I finally get it back together.  

It did come with a brand new spark plug installed but nothing that has been ran in the engine to see how it was running.  Also came dry with no oil in crankcase.

If I get real ambitious, I have a single sided swing arm and forks with brakes and wheels off of a Ducati 916 that was for a custom Harley street bike project that never got finished and has been abandoned.  That would make a great looking super moto. 

For any interested I will keep updates on this thread as I go.  This thread will help me keep things straight as I go and change anything where better ideas are presented. 

Feel free to comment. 

Work area.jpg

Engine apart.jpg

engine side view gasket material.jpg

cam in head.jpg

cam journal.jpg

cam journal side.jpg

cam side 1.jpg

cam side 2.jpg

cylinder head gasket material.jpg

cylinder wall piston.jpg

piston side.jpg

stator side 1.jpg

stator side 2.jpg

Parts on floor.jpg

Forks wheels.jpg


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Now that's a project! You may want to polish the head around the valves while it's opened up. Fun times with a good rotary tool and some buffing compound. There are some great how-to vids on it. Should be an easy job with one cylinder.

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