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XL600RM Engine Blown up riding across Ghana. Need help.

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I've got a little problem in Ghana here...

My 1985 xl600rm (the euro one with the small tank and electric start) engine seized up after about 500 kilometers of fast riding from the Burkina Faso border south towards Accra.

Before I get in to what happened, here's a little back story: we had already ridden on the bike 10,000 kilometers on a spur of the moment trip from london thru europe and cross the strait of gibraltar to and around western africa.

the bike had been kind of abused by the previous owner (there was no oil in it when we got it, various bits and bobs were broken) but it was cheap and it was an impulse buy and it had been faithful to us. We even managed to get it out of england before having to pay to register, tax or insure it. all I have is the new keepers registration slip, handwritten from the old owners logbook document, and some west african insurance that we picked up in senegal.

Anyway, so a couple days ago, I was pushing the bike a little too hard, from Burkina Faso to meet a friend who was in Ghana but going to be leaving the next day. Riding at between 4,500 and 5,000 rpm the whole day, except for the parts of the journey that were dirt roads. I was hauling ass on my way south when all at once it felt like something got stuck in the rear wheel and so I stopped smiling and quickly put it in neutral and braked to a stop. I got off to inspect the bike... and a little unhappy puff of smoke came out of the exhaust pipe and the engine was totally stuck. NOT GOOD!

This is my third honda thumper and sixth motorcycle, but the first time I have blown up an engine! :busted:

I had just changed the oil 2 days before, with synthetic 10w40 and put a new oil filter in a few weeks before. I had checked the level the day before and it was near the top mark. (after warming up the bike then letting it settle).

With the motor dead, and nothing else to do, my girlfriend and I thumbed down a passing truck and they gave us a free ride to the next town where I parked the bike in a garage and tried to find a truck to take it to accra (the capital of ghana) but found none for less then 500 cedis (around 300 dollars) so I decided to leave it there and continue by bus to my friends place on the coast and search for parts to take back...

It would have been better to drop the engine and inspect the damage before leaving, but it was dark and we had to go. :-/

So, to cut a long story short, should I try to replace the whole engine or just swap out the damaged cylinder, piston and top end?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. We want to get back on the road to South Africa asap.

I will update with photos soon.

Thanks,

Cameron

Edited by amockalypsenow
typo

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If....and that`s IF..........you can find an engine to swap,,do it..you have no idea why the engine blew,and don`t know what parts to bring..

If it was me,,i`d leave it right there,and buy another bike,it`s going to cost more to fix it then it`s worth..

If it ran dry on oil the center support for the cam..the rockers,piston and cylinder will need replacement or machine work,it may also need a rod,valves,new seals,etc.......you are looking at big coin to fix..

It`s an old bike,,Just say goodbye to it and move on is my advise..:busted:

B

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If....and that`s IF..........you can find an engine to swap,,do it..you have no idea why the engine blew,and don`t know what parts to bring..

If it was me,,i`d leave it right there,and buy another bike,it`s going to cost more to fix it then it`s worth..

If it ran dry on oil the center support for the cam..the rockers,piston and cylinder will need replacement or machine work,it may also need a rod,valves,new seals,etc.......you are looking at big coin to fix..

It`s an old bike,,Just say goodbye to it and move on is my advise..:busted:

B

I concur,,No telling how long it'd take or even if you could get the parts to fix it..Don't think I'd just dump the beast though ..Bite the bullet and freight it through to a more reliable parts destination..ie ,South Africa,,

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I agree with Brian and Horri. See if you can find a known good running engine and do a swap. I'd try to hold onto the bike though if it was me.

Good luck, whatever you do.

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IF it does still have oil in it, then it sounds like a hot seizure. IF it's a hot seizure, then everything above the base gasket is suspect; it could be just the piston and jug, it could be just the head, or it could be both. Running the oil dry typically wipes out the valvetrain lbefore the cylinder. Inversely, overheating(of this nature, which is generally caused by sustained pinging or lean jetting) often sticks the piston before hurting the valvetrain.

The most expedient option IMO is to (try to) find another '83-87 600cc RFVC engine.

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i bought a 600lm from england 3 or 4 years ago and got several miles from the sellers house when all of a sudden no power.AA called.trailered to irish sea ferry and arrived home to find .75ish of a litre of oil in the motor.NOT GOOD.stripped the top end to find a snapped camshaft and ***..d head...i count myself lucky there was no more damage.second hand parts,several oil changes to remove metal shavings and its still going today.that was my issues with low oil.your problem could be anything really and you will only find out once you open it up.it could be as little as a rebore and piston due to the high temps in africa combined with hammering it on the black stuff.get back to the bike with some tools and let us know.i have plenty of used parts...cylinder,pistons etc.

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Hi all.

Thanks for your replies.

I've found a dominator engine for cheap, which is an achievement considering how few decent parts bikes there are in Accra (compared with Senegal or Mali for example).

Now I'm just trying to figure out if I can finagle the engine into the frame. Unlike the xl600's 2, The dominator has a single carb head right?

I've read the thread on the xr650l xl600 hybrid bike, and understand the dominator engine to be the same as the xr650l so it should work.

Anybody want to offer any advice?

Thanks guys.

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Hi all.

Thanks for your replies.

I've found a dominator engine for cheap, which is an achievement considering how few decent parts bikes there are in Accra (compared with Senegal or Mali for example).

Now I'm just trying to figure out if I can finagle the engine into the frame. Unlike the xl600's 2, The dominator has a single carb head right?

I've read the thread on the xr650l xl600 hybrid bike, and understand the dominator engine to be the same as the xr650l so it should work.

Anybody want to offer any advice?

Thanks guys.

you may need the nx cdi.the single carb will be in the way of the xl frame.you will have to adapt the carb insulator because of this.then you have to think about an air filter arrangement.it can be done but not so simple.

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I just got back from checking out the motor- seemed like it could have worked, but the guy wanted way too much, so, no deal. This could be a good way for us to get avoid riding through Nigeria though- we could sell our bike for parts to the guy with the motor, bypass Nigeria, and then buy a bike in gabon or Cameroon. I'll let you know what we do...

Edited by amockalypsenow

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Anybody know if I can use my xl600r cdi with the nx650 engine? Besides the carbs/fitting issues, are there any other issues with swapping to the nx650 engine I shoul look out for?

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Something really surprising happened today, but first an update on the state of my bike:

so, I didn't get the dominator enine, for a few reasons: cost, the single-carb-shock fit issue, and because after talking about selling it, the owner decided to keep it and revive his bike.

We got back on the bus for 9 hours of incredibly bad roads back to wenchi to get the bike out of storage and check out the damage.

First thing I noticed is that I have the xR600 engine, with 591cc's and 97.0 x 80.0 bore and stroke, which was put into some euro xl's for whatever reason.

I found a valve had snapped off and smashed a hole in the piston, damaged the other valves, and put fragments of metal in the crankcase. Not good, but it could have been worse. The head escaped with minor dents and the piston rod was unharmed. Part of the bottom of the sleeve had been broken off, but there is a lot of good sleeve/piston clearance left. I'm hoping the engine will work with part of the bottom of he sleeve cut off. It's way below the bottom stroke of the rings. The cylinder was luckily not scored

So, I decided to try to rebuild the motor, with the help of a guy here that unbelievably just moved back from working for yamaha in Paris, (he worked in the same area as me even) and we went a couple hours away to the 2nd largest city in Ghana, Kumasi, to find a piston and valves, and we spent the day searching and found neither an xr 600 piston or engine or an xl600 piston or engine (although they have a lot of parts for big bikes there). I did find the valves though and bought a set for 30 bucks. I also found a piston and rings in good state that fits perfectly in the cylinder, so I bought it. The wrist-pin is of a smaller diameter, but I'm having it bored out here in wenchi to accommodate the wrist-pin from the piston that was in my honda.

So here's the surprise: things are coming along today and I am splitting the case to clean out the fragments etc and the oil pump, and what do I see, as I'm walking back from the toilet, but an xl600, only a block away, outside a police station. So I get to talking to the guy who owns it, a police officer, and he says he has an extra motor, with a loose cam chain, that he wants to give me. So, I say, "well, I'll have to give you something for it"- and he says, "no, just take it". What luck is that!

Here's the thing though: It's a normal xl600 engine, 589cc and 100.0 x 75.0 bore and stroke.

Sooo should I bore out the xr cylinder and use the xl piston to get more cc's or what?

ALSO, I'm going to check to see if it is a '83 or '84 head with bigger intake ports.

Please advise/

Thanks!

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Is the original engine twin carb or single,,can't garner that from your posts..Why are you wanting to bore the XR600 engine,,be easier surely to swap the XL crank over to the XR or use the entire XL engine,,You can't really just bore an XR600 cylinder to take an XL Piston..although I'm a bit unsure on that because I've had what I believe to be a 650L cylinder bored out to take an XL600 Piston..Bit thin in the sleeve but touch wood it hasn't burnt up as yet.,.If you use the XR crank and simply bore the jug to take an XL piston you'll end up with the Piston sitting lower in the bore,,Not allowed ,,or may be but compression etc will suffer,,Have to use the XL Piston with the XL crank,,Piston needs to match whatever crank you have or use in XR/XL.,,least that's my understanding of the issue..

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Geez I would have just bought another bike, or sold the bad one and bought a plane ticket. Unless your just into the whole experience your putting yourself and your girl through alot for a bike....:lol:

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I'd pull apart the top end of the donor XL engine, verify that all is well, replace the timing chain, and be greatful to have the reliablility of a stock Honda engine. For your trip, you'll need reliability rather than performance.

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I'd pull apart the top end of the donor XL engine, verify that all is well, replace the timing chain, and be greatful to have the reliablility of a stock Honda engine. For your trip, you'll need reliability rather than performance.

:lol: +2

Doing the above is the easiest, least time consuming and most likely least expensive thing to do. Replace the timing chain (guides and tensioner wouldn't be a bad idea either) and you'll be back on the road in no time flat.

:)

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