2000 XR200R Burning lots of oil - top end?

Hi All,

I just picked up a mint 2000 XR200R for my wife.

Everything is perfect about it - no damage I could find at all. Unfortunately it burns a hell of a lot of oil. Went through about 250ml in about 3 hours of gentle riding. It all comes out the exhaust in a white cloud as you ride.

It starts first kick, has plenty of power and idles well.

I'm guessing it needs new piston rings?

Whats involved in a top end rebuild? Do I need to remove the engine from the bike or can it be done in place? Any special tools?

Can a mechanically minded average joe like myself pull it off?

I'm pretty new to the bike scene, need all the help I can get. Thanks in advance!


Not a difficult job, and the engine must be removed from the chassis. Most likely cause of the oil consumption is failed valve seals, part of the Honda Gasket Kit A. If you do a compression test before tear down you will have a better understanding of the cause of oil consumption. Harbor Freight sells a kit (about $25) with an adapter small enough for the spark plug hole. Engine should be warm, unbolt the compression release cable anchor on the cylinder head (just above the spark plug, pull the plug and lay it on the cylinder head in its boot (grounded to protect the coil), and hold the throttle wide open. Kick over the engine until the gauge quits rising. Add a teaspoon of oil thru the plug hole and repeat. The oil seals the rings and will raise the pressure if they are worn, little or no increase in pressure with oil indicates valves are leaking. Honda says 190psi but the engines will still run very good with 160psi.

Items and Tools Needed in addition to metric hand tools:

Honda shop manual, 81-83 XR200R will work, or any 86-02. I also have a Clymer and the IMO the Honda manual is better. However the 82 manual that I have has a wrong torque value for the flywheel bolt. Available on eBay.

You need a 24mm spanner socket for the crank gear and clutch hub retainer nuts, Motion Pro Part # 08-0015 does the job for about 10 bucks. Available online and most Honda dealers.


Flywheel puller; use the rear axle or buy a 16mm x 1.5 bolt. It just threads into the flywheel and presses against the crank nose to pull the flywheel off the crank taper.

Several pennies to jam gears while removing shaft nuts, or a clutch basket wrench.

3/8” drive Torque wrench.

Impact driver for Phillip head screws. I have several old trusty hammer impact types but I now prefer a Ryobi 18volt battery powered impact driver.

Valve spring compressor. My “C” clamp style spring compressor won’t extend far enough into the cam box to reach the top of the valves so I made a spacer to bridge the gap. I used copper plumbing fittings and a washer to suit the valve spring/keeper, I cut out one side to provide access to the keepers. All soldered together. Latest version on the left.


Optional: A 3/8” pneumatic impact with butterfly control, limited torque (less than 40ft/lbs), and easy to use.

The tranny is a problem because of all the little washers, clip, etc. I suggest keeping all of the parts intact on each shaft and store each in a zip lock plastic bag.

Thanks for the info, I'll give it a go. Know of any way to check valves without a compression test?


Valve seals are not the cause of your kind of oil burning problem! I'll bet you're right on the money suspecting a ring problem!:thumbsup: Scraper and oil ring are not able to keep crankcase oil out of the combustion chamber due to several possible reasons. Most often may take a bore job and piston kit to correct. You could remove the valve seals and not have the oil burning you do! Also checking compression does not tell the whole story. You can have great compression, and have oil going by the rings....!

On a oil burner such as yours, I'd start by looking at air filter, make sure it had clean correct engine oil at proper level. Next make sure crankcase breather was clear. If if all checked out ok, pull the top end apart. I'll also note ..... once in a great while (almost never)) I've seen a guide loose in the head cause a problem. Let us know what you find........good luck on your project.:thumbsup:

Old School Al

OK I stripped down the motor to have a bit of a look.

Breather was fine, air filter was fine.

It was actually very easy to pull out of the frame and apart.

Here's the piston


Piston OD measured 65.40, Cylinder ID measured 65.50 - it was a very tight fit so it doesn't look like I'm in for a rebore.

The rings protrude about 1.5mm from the piston all the way around - to me this seems like not a lot of wear.

The oil sealing ring only protrudes a very small amount, maybe 0.25mm? Is it supposed to be the same diameter as the piston rings?

There didn't appear to be anything obvious like scratches in the bore etc.

Got my hands on a repair manual and managed to do some rough measurements the way Honda recommends.

Cylinder Diameter - 65.50 - 65.55mm

Service Limit - 65.60mm

Piston Diameter - 64.94 at top, 65.40 at bottom

Service Limit - 65.40mm

Piston to Cylinder Clearance - 0.1- 0.61mm

Service Limit - 0.10mm

Piston ring to groove clearance - 0.038-0.051mm

service limit - 0.09mm

Ring end gap - 0.60mm/1.20mm

Service limit - 0.50mm

The end gap on the oil sealing ring retainers were bigger than 1mm, the oil seal itself just dropped right through the cylinder.

So I guess I'll be needing one of these


in the 65.5 mm size?

Also, I noticed the O-ring that sits between the cylinder head and cylinder wall was chewed up and spat out into the cylinder head. Could this have also contributed?

Still haven't had a chance to have a look at the valves - I'm still trying to decide whether I should buy the tool and check the valves just for the sake of completion, or whether to just leave them.

What do you think? Am I on the right track?

p.s the repair manual is great! Plenty of information

If the piston is at min spec and you have that much ring end gap, I'm betting you have too much piston to cyl clearance. Piston and rings don't wear that much without wearing the cyl also. Better check it out very carefully ..... I just got this feeling. Piston is measured 90 degrees to pin at largest area at bottom of skirt. That's not the oil seal that dropped through the cyl.......... that's the oil ring expander! Puts tension on the oil rings.

Are you meaning the o ring on the around the right rear cyl stud? If so, no it will not contribute ...... will leak external. To leak oil into the cyl would have to get by the fire ring on the headgasket. If the fire ring was in a condition allowing that to happen .......... it would not be able to hold combustion! You'ld have combustion gases blasting out around the head gasket. Keep in mind ....... combustion pressure is waaaaay, waaaaay higher than oil pressure. Used to have the old 70's era Honda fours come in with oil drooling from the headgasket and no oil in the cyl problem. The computer mechanics get tripped up on this ........ don't let them mislead you.:thumbsup:

Better check out the valves .....! Typical would be to need a new intake valve due to a worn seat area .......... recut (to narrow) the intake seat ...... light touch (if any) on the exhaust seat ........... and install the new seals in the gasket kit. Many will just lap the new (or maybe even the old) valve to the trashed seat with lapping compound that looks like road gravel. Not the way I do it .......... but to each his own!:worthy:

Yep.........I'd say you're on the right track.:confused:

Old School Al

I remeasured the cylinder and it always comes up at 65.50, but my calipers will only reach a short way into the top of the cylinder, and I can feel a tiny step about 6mm from the top (where the top ring gets to). So you're probably right - the bore might need to be redone.

Also, the oil ring expander (thats for the correction) is very worn, the oil rings flop around quite a bit in the piston.

I made up a tool like what chuck suggested (Thanks!) and managed to pull the valves off. The seals seemed ok, as I was sliding the valve out it produced quite a bit of vacuum. I'll be replacing them anyway though.

The valves and valve seats seem ok, the valve stems measure well in spec and the valve seats have a nice shiny circle in the right spot where they have been closing to. Not too wide either - pretty much exactly whats in the service manual.

Yeah thats the O-ring I meant. Good point though, the headgasket looks fine.

I'm amazed at how tiny the tolerances are in this thing, visually it all looked perfect when I pulled it apart but according to all I've learnt so far the piston and rings are very worn.

So I have to get the bore done to 66.00mm then buy that top end kit and install and all should be swell? Hope the rebore doesn't cost too much :-S

Thanks for your help so far!

Edit: What is the best way to clean the carbon deposits off all the parts without wrecking them?

I'm puzzled by the clean appearance of the piston and the high oil consumption, although some is from an oil leak. Definitely worn rings but worn cylinder/rings usually show other signs of high hours such as; carbon build up on the crown, scorched oil on the underside of the piston crown, visible wear pattern on the skirt, ridge at the top of the cylinder, no visible cross hatch marks on the bore, etc. Maybe a low hour engine suffering dirt ingestion from a lack of air filter maintenance?

Piston/cyclinder clearances are difficult to measure so I suggest taking the cylinder and piston to a shop that does boring, they can measure the piston and cylinder for you.

In NA Honda use to sell oversize pistons and rings in 0.25mm increments, don't know about availability in your area. For oversize we now use aftermarket Wiseco or Powroll pistons but they are only available in 0.5mm increments. Aftermarket piston/ring supplier should provide instructions on clearances, honing, assembly, and break in.

All valve machine work should be done on the seat, not also on the valve like cars. And please follow Al's advice on lapping valves.

Two quick and easy checks:

Valve stem/valve guide clearance; insert a valve into the guide, place a finger over the top of the guide and quickly pull out the valve. It should make a pop sound.

Pin/rod wear: The rod small end elongates when it wears; insert one end of the pin into the rod until flush with the other side of the rod. Wiggle the free end of the pin up/down and side to side, if up/down is greater than side to side the rod small end is worn (elongated).

I should probably add that was after I had cleaned up the piston a fair bit. There was definitely a large build up of carbon etc over the piston, head valves and the very top of the cylinder. I'm fairly confident the cylinder is worn given the step so I'll be purchasing a 66mm kit. Since its gotta come from the states it will be a while. I'll keep everyone updated when it arrives!

Thanks. -josh

Got all my parts now so its time to start rebuilding! Fingers crossed!

another way to check the valves besides the "pop" meathod is to pour some straight gasoline into the port with the valves and springs installes and tilt the head so that the gas will sit around the entire seat of the valve and look on the combustion chamber side for the gas leaking through and since gas is lighter, and thinner, than just about anything out there it WILL leak if the valve isnt seated properly. test this on all the valves and it will tell you what you need to know.

Well its all back together now, no major surprises during the build. Started it up, only took 3 or 4 kicks to start. It's still blowing a significant amount of smoke but I'm hoping its just excess oil in the exhaust and in the top of the cylinder from the build process. Power is much better though!

Fingers crossed, will post after the first ride.


Yep...... takes awhile to burn the oil out of the exhaust and clean up.:smirk:

Old School Al

So after a good 2 hours riding the oil finally burnt out. It runs great now! Thanks a bunch for everyone's help, makes life much easier!

my mates xr200 used to smoke really bad to until he got it rebuilt. we used to call it a 3stroke, cause it smoked like a 2stroke. and he never really change the oil the last 3 months before he got it rebuilt, he just kept filling it up cause it was using a shit load of oil haha

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