wr 400 life

I'm looking for a new bike because I just sold my Cr 250. I live on a ranch and want something to drive daily in the summer. I'm looking around at wr 400's and 426. funds are limited to like 2500 bucks so i'm trying to find a good deal. I really didn't think there were many big changes in the wr 400s, but 1. are there any years I should look out for. 2. How long can a 400 go before a rebuild. and what does a rebuild cost and entail? New piston, rings, pin, cam chain? How long do valve guides and valves last in these beasts? I am extremely mechanical so most of the work will be done by myself saving honing and valve seat work. 3. does the wrf have nicasil cylinders or are they sleeves? 4 when rebuilding is it usually necessary to renicasil or just hone. When i rebuild my kdx i got a way with no renic. I want something for trail and extreme hill climbing in the badlands( gumbo from hell). An xr just wouldn't cut it. stability is probably one of the big things as my cr was like riding a lob sided rocked filled with nitro. I'm looking forward to participating in these formums and any help would be greatly appreciated, Thanks.

$2500 will limit you to a 98 or 99 wr400 in most cases. Not an expert at daily drivers, but I think it's tough to have one bike do daily riding and extreme riding. Just from the rear sprocket setup, smaller sprocket(48 or 50 tooth)=higher speeds;52 tooth=lower gearing and lower top speed. I just changed my rear sprocket on my 98 400 from a 50 to a 52 tooth (I ride tight trails with steep climbs), and the difference in 1st gear is amazing! My clutch work has dropped in half, and 2nd gear through the tight stuff is an option now. Also, I have a lot more boost to get up that steep sh** instead of dragging a little at the top.

However, I lost a lot of top end speed. Maybe another bike is better in both worlds, but I wouldn't ride anything but a wr! Bulletproof!!

Shop around I paid $2500 for my 01 wr426 last May. It was clean as hell with very low miles and some up grades like asv levers, wide foot pegs, e series pipe, Renthal bars and grips, Works frame guards and rad guards, One industries graphics. The bike said it had 330 miles on it and I am beginning to think it was right because the rims on it were spotless and almost a polished finish, but with a total of 700 miles on the odometer the rims are pitted something terrible and the frame in front of the motor still had all the paint now it has been blasted off. Good deals are out there you just have to be patient.

Shop around and you should be able to find a $2500 WR that is fairly clean. The only ones to watch for are out of your price range and even with that, they are still very reliable bikes in the thumper world. Maybe not as much as an old XR 400, but I think you recognize that will not come close to providing the performance of a WR. Mine probably has about 750 -1000 miles or hard trail riding. I just checked my valve and the exhaust were a smidge on the tight side. Everything else has held up very well. Oh yea, this bike rips compared to my old CR250!!!

Engine life depends entirely on maintenance. I have roughly 5000 miles on my '00WR400F, and it's still just fine. If you need a rebuild, it depends on what needs replacing. If the bike was taken care of, it will likely be about $1000 or so. If there's serious damage, up to $2500. You'll have to buy right to get a good one.

I lucked out. I feel the '00 is perfect. Steel valves (no titanium valve issues), but it has the 2nd generation FCR carb. Stone reliable, yet plenty of performance for me. They also respond quite well to adjustments.

If it does need rebuilding, you can likely just hone the cylinder, but it depends on the specs and which piston you use. You really have to get it apart to tell. I'd definitely check compression and ask the seller about the last time valves were adjusted and what the clearance was at the time. If they look at you funny and stammer and cough, they probably never even checked the valves. That's a bad sign. I'd also ask how often they changed the oil. Anything less than 250 miles is probably acceptable, but more than that and it was likely rode hard and put away wet. With the right questions, you'll know if the guy was paying attention to the maintenance.

Thanks your answers are great. I rode my 98 cr 250 as a daily rider on the ranch. I have spent solid days in the sadle, needless to say it was kinda hard on the butt, but(lol) i'm young and tough. What i really wanted to know is how much the usual rebuild parts cost. Heres my expectations for a periodic rebuild. New wiseco piston kit 160, new cam chain $30, shims are pretty cheap, how long do valvesprings last, Then probably less than 50 to hone, but no one ever said is it nicasil or sleeve. I'm just wondering where these $800 and $1000 dollar figures come from. I suppose getting the seats in the head done and new valve guides cost a little but me doing all of that i can do myself would cost about $350. I figure the cams can take one rebuild. How exactly do you know when its time to rebuild. vibration, missing. or just compression test? thanks

I believe they are nikasil, but I don't really know. Never been inside. Besides piston, you have rings, wrist pin and bearing, gaskets, definitely a cam chain, valves, springs, caps and keepers, possibly cam bearings, coolant, radiator cap, hoses, valve shims, labor for valve job (even if it's just grinding seats), and a complete shop manual.

You may be ok reusing valves if you get one with steel valves (WR400F and early YZ400F), but even then, I think I'd go new. I would not use old springs under any circumstances. When springs break, multiple moving parts attempt to occupy the same space at the same time. This doesn't work out well.

Titanium or stainless valves are between $550 and 800 per set. I don't know about steel. Steel ones will likely only fit the bikes that had them originally, like my '00WR400F. You'll likely have to get OEM if you want steel, and aftermarket mfgs seem to concentrate on Ti and SS. There was no OEM steel valve for any 426 or 450 as far as I recall. So, you will be pushing about $1000 or so.

All this assumes, of course, that the original owner hasn't run the engine without oil. That would likely ruin most bearings and the cams. This means cases get split, and trans bearings become suspect, too. Crank gets split for a new rod kit, then assembled and re-balanced. Oil pump and water pump impeller get a look also. And all parts will need to be hot tanked to make sure small oil passages aren't blocked with varnish and sludge.

This is why it could be anywhere between $1000 and $2500.

BTW, mine is a dry sump engine, I believe the 450 still is. All moving parts aside from the transmission and cam chain rely on oil pressure. This is why the oil needs to be changed religiously on these bikes. It's not because the oil breaks down faster, it's to avoid developing sludge, which clogs small oil galleries.

i have a 2000 & 1998 wr 400 and i know that cylinder is a nikasil in both.

I picked up my 99 WR400F for $1200 just a month ago, and it's plated, and it had the title, and it doesn't need a ton. $800 in parts later and this bike will be like friggen brand new!

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now