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First bike what to do to make it trail worthy

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So just got my first bike it's a 1987 Xt 350 dual sport. Runs decent had it on the trails and roads. I am joining a local off road club. I want to make it tip top. It currently has dual sport tires on it. What upgrades, and or maintence do you recomend to get it running really good and dirt worthy. Has street tires so thinking of a more of a dirt tire but I don't want to burn through it super fast on the road. Thinking bars, brake job, maybe jet kit, bigger tank, brush guards new plug. Any suggestions?

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Maybe bark busters in addition to what you have? A general tune up is what I would focus on first though. If it is in need of any parts that takes priority over upgrades. Give it a run through. Did you buy a manual for it yet? They are very helpful if your new to bikes.



-air filter

-fuel line

-brakes/wheel bearings

-cables(lube em up)


-spark plug


That seems like a good start to me and will keep you busy for a little. Hope you enjoy your new bike.

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Start your maintenance at the heart and work out from there . It probably has at least fair compression or it wouldn't run decent . Check the valve lash and the timing chain / sprockets while you have the valve cover off . Being as you're new to bikes :

Here's a video . It shows a CB750 valve adjustment , but the rules and procedures are the same . The shims and buckets are interchangeable between our '85 - '00 XT350s and the '79 - '82 CB750 - 900 Hondas .

Valve Adjustment :


Check all clearances ( cam lobe pointed straight away from the shim face ) and record them on a chart like the one below . Record the initial clearance in EXHAUST #1 & 2 top squares on the chart .

After recording the clearance , remove the underlying shims , one at a time . Measure it and put it back in the bucket . Record that initial shim size in the corresponding square . DO NOT ROTATE THE CAMS WITHOUT A SHIM IN EVERY BUCKET . If you do , serious bucket damage could and most likely will result .

Do the intakes as described for the exhaust . Just make sure you record the clearances and shim sizes in the correct squares . When you know each valves clearance and shim size , do a little math and figure which shim will work where and which will need to be exchanged for a correct thickness . Remember the correct clearance for the exhaust is .005" - .007" and intake is .003" - .005" . Considering how hot these XTs run , .003" seems a bit too tight . I run mine at .004" - .005" .

Hopefully , you have a good relationship with your local Yamaha or Honda dealer and better yet the shop manager . Ask if they will do a shim exchange . They probably have a box buried in the back of the shop and figure that doing an exchange might just get them some of your other business . Most shops don't do very many valve adjustments that use these 25mm shims anymore . The newer bikes use a smaller shim about the size of a large pea . So , it's not taking anything out of their pockets.

Here's the worksheet I use . I use this for my CB750 4 cylinder 16 valve . Just use the #1 & 2 squares . Keeping a record for future reference comes in handy when it comes time to adjust again .


You might want to try the Uni two stage competition air filter .

Definitely run an inline paper fuel filter good to at least 60 micron . Briggs and Stratton uses them in their small engine tuneup kits , but they are available separately as well .

Buy an NGK Iridium spark plug . Yup . They cost about 3 times as much , but they give you 4 times as much pleasure .

It doesn't pay to skimp on the quality of oil .

Be sure to clean the oil screen that comes out the bottom of the tranny .

You can download a free manual that has the basics here :


I also bought a Yamaha Factory Service Manual , which is a complete manual .

It's late . I'm going to sleep now ...

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79yamdt's list is a good start.

As always, I sugest buying new intake boots from the get go. They are pricy, but if you start out with a new set, you likely won't have to buy them again.

I would add a few other things.

Check/grease the head bearing. If the PO didn't do it, it'll be dry.

Grease the suspension links that have grease zirks.

Assuming you have a CA version, you will want to move jetting up the list a bit. They are jetted even leaner than normal.

There are a bunch of jetting threads so start reading :lol:

How many miles are on the bike. You might not need to worry about valve checks and yet.

For tires, talk to the local guys. What works for me(Kenda Trackmaster rear, S-12 front) may not work as well for you.

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How many miles are on the bike. You might not need to worry about valve checks and yet.

As with any machine new to you , you should know exactly what you have to work with . And as almost everything else comes after good sealing valves , it's only good mechanical practice to , at least , check them . You have no idea how the PO really maintained that machine .

I am running Shinko 244 s front and rear . I like them both on and off road . They are a bit noisy on the slab , but they handle nicely . And , so far , I haven't had any problems in the dirt . I should note that I am not a real aggressive dirt rider , but then I don't shy away from it either .

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