Timing problems

Hello all. I'm the proud owner of a 1985 XL600R. It's in pretty rough shape and it's not running right now. The previous owner said that it ran fine until he pulled the motor to replace the head gaskets. Since then he was not able to get it running. I got it for next to nothing and I'm hoping to get it running. It has spark and the fuel is getting through the carburators. It has fired a couple of times when using a spray primer through the carbs but it won't run on it's own. I'm thinking that the timing chain got moved a tooth or three on the lower sprocket while the head was apart. How can I check the timing? How hard is it to adjust the timing? I don't have a manual yet, but I'm sure that I can get one if needed. Any help would be received with gratitude.


Timing is set to TDC on the compression stroke. Both intake and exhaust valves should be at 10:00 and 2:00 with the piston at TDC. (This is the compression stroke) You will need a shop manual or at least a photocopy of the timing section. Your delearship may let you borrow it to copy those sections if you ask nice...maybe not. Anyway, if your crank timing is off, you can tell for sure when you check the valve timing as above. Then you simply move the timing on the crank until you can make the both valves close at 10:00 and 2:00 then you are good to go. I have only ever done timing on a motorcycle when the crank IS in time, so I hope these assumptions are correct. Correct me if I am wrong anybody...

Thanks Andy, I'll check with one of the Honda dealers in the area about the manual. I'll let you know how it turns out, might be a few days before I can get to it though.

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