2005 wr450 cosmetic update (lots of pics)

Almost two years ago, I documented me putting on my first top end after over 8K miles. It was successful and the bike continues to run great with about 100 hrs max on the new top end. However, a large part of that was lost when thumpertalk rolled back its software a couple of years ago.

My race bike is a KTM and I have been having thoughts about selling my WR to have an all orange garage. But... I am sentimentally attached to the WR and the KTM has been in the shop for repairs that I could not do myself, which makes me nervous about having two of them. Also, I have over 3K in accessories (at least) that I've put on the WR. The thought of selling it to buy another KTM, only to have to spend another 3K to put the same extras on it does not appeal to me right now. (not to mention that I have a valid California license plate for my bike)

So.... I have decided to do a bit of a cosmetic update of my faithful and trusty steed. I am NOT trying to have the best looking WR. I only want it to look "better". My bike is no garage or trailer queen. I ride it in the desert, in the woods, in the rocks, streams, dunes, etc... It gets ridden and I do not want to have something too "pretty". I do, however, want to reset the look to how it was a few years ago.

I will be practical and patient with the process and my spending. I also think documenting it will be kinda fun.

THERE WILL BE LOTS OF PICTURES POSTED. Any comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Here is what I am starting with. These are the before pictures. Its not too bad, but could be better. Notice it looks "used". The engine and wheels could use a little cleaning, the radiator in the left side is smashed in, the swingarm looks like its been through a lot as well. Btw, the bike runs just great and is very, very sound mechanically.

Here is before....





Edited by mauricedorris

After an afternoon of hard work, some pizza and diet coke (no beer for me), I got it all stripped down. Here is how it looks.



Edited by mauricedorris

Now.. here is a closeup of the engine. The bike was running almost perfectly prior to me tearing the bike down. So I am going to strongly resist the temptation to tear into the engine. Besides, I will be going big bore with this engine at the end of this riding season.

This is about making it look a little better and replacing worn out chassis parts.

The engine shows rust and the effects of 6+ years of powerwashing and various degreasers. One thing I noticed for sure was the rusted wire connection on top of the starter. I think water gets trapped beneath the rubber boot. I'll get the cleaned up for sure and will definitely seal it.




Edited by mauricedorris

Now that the bike is broken down and I've inspected everything, I started compiling a list of parts and potential costs. I tried to separate wants vs needs.

Needs are broken thing and items worn to the point where they need to replaced now. Wants are the stuff that's nice, but not absolutely necessary. I will do "needs" right now and accumulate the "wants" over time. Its easier on the wallet this way. Besides, at some point, it can get to be too much. I don't want to get to that point.

Take a look at my parts list: http://www.pdis.com/...e/bikeparts.pdf.

I've already started ordering parts. But it goes without saying that having written documentation (evidence) of how much money is spent on a dirt bike is NOT good for the husband/wife dynamic. Just sayin...

The first parts to start arriving are the new radiators. I decided to order the inexpensive "$100 shipped to your door" radiators off of ebay. They are obviously from china, but they claim to be bigger and higher quality. I think they are right. here is a comparison.

Notice how much bigger and thicker they are. They are also built with thicker aluminum material and have some beefy welds. The radiator cap sucks, but that's easy to change out. My flatland radiator guards do not fit over these bigger ones, but the enduro engineering guards I ordered seem to squeeze around them.

I will post pics of the guards tomorrow. But for now, here are the radiators (OEM vs Chinese).

btw.. just ignore the minor depression on my right OEM radiator. I ended up smashing that radiator and the flatland guard that surrounded it.





Edited by mauricedorris

Good job Maurice! Man! That is one smashed radiator!!! What did you hit?! Maniac

Very nice write up, let us know how that radiator does for cooling as I might get one.

Good job Maurice! Man! That is one smashed radiator!!! What did you hit?! Maniac

Actually, it was smashed much worse. I had to literally hammer it back into place just to get it off the bike.

It was a tip over that caused it. I was going down an off-camber single track trail in the desert. I stopped because of a rider in front of me was stopped. I lost balance and could not get a foot down. The bike tipped over and fell off the side of the trail onto some pretty big rocks. It all happened in slow motion.

$200 worth of damage and I don't even have a good story to tell. Oh well, after several repairs, it was time for new radiators anyway.

Man, this is a great thread! I'm excited to see how she comes along! I'm in the same mindset with my WR.. its not the best for racing [although I have raced it a few times, and even got an OA on it once]... but its plated... and you just CANT beat that!

Ok... first things first.... the engine looks like crap. I heard about the benefits of using oven cleaner so I tried a little. Here is how it looks after spraying a small portion of the aluminum with oven cleaner and then scrubbing it with a scotchbrite pad. Looks like I need to take a little time and do the whole thing...


Cant wait to see the end result. I would go easy on the oven cleaner around the paint, plastic and the rubber seals .

I recently cleaned the engine on mine too and had very good luck with just wd-40 . I dont think oven cleaner is as harsh

as it used to be but, just a thought.

OK... I got a little bit done. If I ever hope to ride this bike again, I'd better start moving a bit faster.

Here is the engine all cleaned up with a coat of high temp clear enamel on it. I hope it helps to look better over time. It is 7 year old btw... I used oven cleaner, paint stripper, degreaser, and just about everything I could find along with a stiff brush, scotchbrite pads, wire brush, wire wheel and some really fine steel wool. What a pain! I was trying to remove all the rust and whatever yellowed finish was all over engine.

Doesn't look new, but it looks a whole lot better. that's about all I can hope for. big improvement over earlier pictures


Edited by mauricedorris

Did the same thing with the wheels. Tried to clean them up as much as I could. But, they look like they've been ridden in the desert for the past 7 years.


I need to get some sand paper to really smooth out the nicks and scratches in the wheels. Will get back to these later..

Edited by mauricedorris

OK... put in a little more time over the past couple of days on the frame. I decided to try the rattle can to see how it would look. If it looked like crap, I'd just send it out for powdercoating. I used the colorrite 5815 yamaha blue paint in a spray can. I did take my time and prep it properly to give the best chance of adhesion. Here is what you are looking at.

1st pic is the frame showing 7 years of desert riding with a fair share of tumbles, spills and drops into the rocks. The color is faded, clear coat worn off in may spots, rush showing through, dings on the bottom, etc...


2nd pic... I took a wire brush (hand and also attached to a drill) and I removed all the paint and rust where I found it. I went down to the bare shiny metal in those places. Then I used an etching primer on the bare metal. The black is the etching primer.


Next picture... I then used a medium steel wool to heavily scuff the blue paint on the whole frame. I removed all the shine and tried to scrub out the existing clear coat. Some people use sand paper, but steel wool always works for me. After the entire frame was scuffed up and the bare metal was covered with etching primer, I then applied three or four thin coats of Primer Sealer to the entire frame. It took one can of primer to get it done. Here's what it looked like fully primed.


This particular primer does not require sanding. It was was warm out so I waited about an hour and a half and applied the base coat using the ColorRite OEM matching paint. I used 1-11oz can, put on three light coats and had some left to lay it on thicker on the frame where my boots will be. If you are smart and don't waste any, then you will run out of paint as soon as you finish. Here is what it looked like.


Now... this is where I got a little cheap. I needed a clear coat. I don't want to be bothered with a hvlp sprayer or mixing any sort 2 part urethane clear coats. So I got a can of rustoleum automotive clear acrylic enamel. I waited an hour til the paint was kinda dry, then I exhausted the whole can of clear coat on the frame. It looks great. The next few days will tell me exactly how much this clear coat will harden. I do not plan on touching it til friday at the earliest. It should be nice and cured by then. (Oh, I almost sprayed the clear lacquer on it. Those who have painted before probably already know that its a disaster to spray lacquer over any sort of urethane base color. Luckily I read the can before I sprayed and exchanged it for the enamel.)

Here is the final frame pic with the color and clear coat. It looks a whole lot better. I could have went thought the trouble of smoothing out a few area, but I fully intend to ride the bike and scratch it up again. I think it looks pretty good for a rattle can job and about $25 in paint.


Edited by mauricedorris

frame looks good. That's exactly what I did to mine last year and it faired fairly well for a year worth of riding. Just a note, about those wheel hoops.. if you really want to shine them up, start with fine grade steel wool to remove any corrosion/pitting.. followed by a power polisher using metal polishing compound.. :thumbsup: same method also works wonders for the spokes.

Looks GOOD! Keep up the good work! Cant wait to see the finished product.

BTW, spend the 120 and get your self the guts seat... :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

frame looks good. That's exactly what I did to mine last year and it faired fairly well for a year worth of riding. Just a note, about those wheel hoops.. if you really want to shine them up, start with fine grade steel wool to remove any corrosion/pitting.. followed by a power polisher using metal polishing compound.. :thumbsup: same method also works wonders for the spokes.

Good tips. I plan to do exactly what you say. Then I'll put a coating over the wheels to make it a bit easier to maintain.

The wheels and swingarm will probably be my next task while I wait and wait and wait for the paint and clear coat to fully cure. I hoping that will only take about a week. I think the rule generally is that if you can smell the paint, its not fully cured.

Edited by mauricedorris

Looks GOOD! Keep up the good work! Cant wait to see the finished product.

BTW, spend the 120 and get your self the guts seat... :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Thanks. Its slow going on this. But I'm trying to take my time. My other bike is down and this bike is in pieces, so I don't have any riding activities to distract me. :thumbsup:

I already have the seat concepts seat. I did a 10 hr ride last year and felt like I was sitting in my recliner at home. THe only issue I have with that seat is that it adds about an inch to the height. Plus.. it has these wings on the side which makes it a little more difficult for me and my 31 inch inseam legs to get a foot firmly down in the really technical terrain. I end up dropping the bike more. Maybe I will have to look at the Guts foam. I want OEM shape but with better foam. The seat concepts seat is great though, I've got only two rides on it and will probably try to sell it.

Edited by mauricedorris

OK... the restoration continues... but with other less flashy details. The next time I decide to restore my bike, can someone please remind me of this?

Here are the wheels. First I removed the 7 year old wheel bearings, then I scrubbed with steel wool and sprayed a very light coat of clear enamel. They look a lot better and should be easier to keep clean.



Now... the steering head bearing needs to be changed. We know that the top one comes out easy, Then you may need a press to deal with the bottom one right?

WRONG! I will show you how I changed that lower beearing by myself.

Here is how I did it...

First, with the forks still in the lower clamps, I lay it down on the grass and use a hammer and a screwdriver to basically tear off the outer part of the existing bearing. With a little care, the outer part will come off and leave the inner pressed on piece in place. Pics below



Then I take a screw driver and hammer off the pressed fit piece with some steady and deliberate blows. After a while, it starts to come off. Its just not that hard to do and took me three minutes


Keep going with the screw driver and hammer, be gentle and easy...


Then it comes off. Remove the forks from the clamps and you've just saved yourself $20 and a bunch of time

Now I can get ready to install the new lower bearing. Again... no need for a press or to take it to the shop. What you see pictured below is the lower triple clamp, a set of new bearings and races (ebay) , some grease and a couple of tools, including a 1.25 X 18 inch piece of galvanized pipe from Lowes


Just start greasing the lower bearing (be sure to know the difference between the top and bottom) and start assembling it on the lower triple clamp. Then we will use that last little piece of the old bearing to help us press the bearing down on to the shaft. Its a real tight fit and it doesn't go on with out a little force


Then slip the pipe over the shaft on top of the old bearing (what's left of it) and start giving it a few gentle taps. Notice I put a block of wood beneath it. It will take about 20--25 taps of the hammer and the bearing will be where it needs to be. The old bearing will be press on too, but we will remove it.



Again, break out your screwdriver, give it a few whacks and the old one will come off. You will then have a perfectly pressed on lower bearing



All I have to do now is lube it up a bit and this part is all done.

Simple! Total time: 30 mins.

Edited by mauricedorris

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