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Proud New Owner of a 2007 XR650L, with a few questions.

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Hello All,

To start off - I recently sold my 1984 XL350R and 1985 XR350 and picked up a lightly used (3000 Miles) 2007 XR650L. Wow! What a difference, being 20 some years newer, much much lower mileage and a larger power plant... this is an entirely different beast.

I'm 27 years old and just got into bikes. I had been riding a friends dual sport suzuki DRs on/off road for a few years and decided to pick up the XR and the XL last summer - rode them pretty much every day. I wanted something a bit more reliable that I could count on to get me there and back.. I'm thinking that with the XRL I made a good call.

Anyway, I got the bike back home and did some routine maintenance. Changed the Oil / Filter (I don't think the PO ever changed the oil, it was blacker than black) I put in 10W40 Motorcycle oil for now. It's still pretty cold here in Wisconsin and I'm thinking that I'll switch to 20W50 when it heats up again. Sound about right?

I did not check the valves yet, I did adjust the valves on the XR350 and from what I have read on here / in the service manual it seems to be pretty much the same process. Do you think it's necessary at 3200 miles to check?

My main question: I've been riding short trips around my house (10 minutes or so.. It's still too damn cold here!) and I've been noticing that downshifting from 2nd to 1st it will either stick in neutral or grind a little bit before going back into first. All other gears work no problem. Going up to 2nd from first is smooth as silk. If I jam it into first from second there is no grinding, and if I shift very quickly there is almost no grinding. I'm wondering if this is just how I will have to learn to shift on this bike, or if the oil is possibly not heated up enough yet (5-10 minutes, 30-35 degrees outside) or if I may need to do some clutch adjustments?

Any advice is appreciated if you managed to make it through this long post!

Future plans for when it gets warm out: IMS/Clarke tank, Daves Mods for sure - the bike already has a Pro Circuit T4 silencer so I'd just need the jets and a Uni, possibly a WPS tail light, right on the cusp of needing/wanting a lowering link.. undecided.

I'm planning on taking this bike out west this summer on a +/- 4000 mile journey so many questions will probably follow.

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...Changed the Oil / Filter (I don't think the PO ever changed the oil, it was blacker than black) I put in 10W40 Motorcycle oil for now. It's still pretty cold here in Wisconsin and I'm thinking that I'll switch to 20W50 when it heats up again. Sound about right?

I did not check the valves yet, I did adjust the valves on the XR350 and from what I have read on here / in the service manual it seems to be pretty much the same process. Do you think it's necessary at 3200 miles to check?...

...I've been noticing that downshifting from 2nd to 1st it will either stick in neutral or grind a little bit before going back into first. All other gears work no problem. Going up to 2nd from first is smooth as silk. If I jam it into first from second there is no grinding, and if I shift very quickly there is almost no grinding. I'm wondering if this is just how I will have to learn to shift on this bike, or if the oil is possibly not heated up enough yet (5-10 minutes, 30-35 degrees outside) or if I may need to do some clutch adjustments?...

Welcome. :lol: I run 15W/40 motor oil year round, but your choice of motor oil is fine. The most important thing is to change your motor oil regularly. :lol:

Your valves are most likely in good adjustment, but I think it's wise for you to check the valve lash as soon as possible. This is an easy procedure to perform on your XR650L, and you are much safer to confirm all is well, rather than to hope for the best in ignorance. :lol:

I fear you have problems with your gearbox; you should not hear any grinding noises when shifting. :bonk: Your problem is not related to cold engine oil, or your clutch. When you downshift from 2nd gear to 1st gear, the dogs on countershaft gear C4 must engage with the slots on countershaft gear C1, to lock 1st gear onto the countershaft. The grinding noise you hear probably indicates either, or most likely both, of these gears are damaged. You can learn more about your bike's transmission by reading the following threads.

http://www.justxr.com/jaw/gearbox.html

http://www.southbayr...ead.php?t=92889

I suspect the grinding noise will only get worse until you repair the damaged gears. :lol:

Spud :lol:

Edited by SpudRider

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You have good taste. I got a 2007 XRL with 3400 miles on the clock last year, and while I wouldn't call it grinding, it was a little bit rough going into first. Oil was pretty clean as the guy said he had just had it serviced, and it had conventional oil in it, and he had the receipt. I switched to Castrol Synthetic 10W40, and desmogged it, and went to a UNI filter and rejetted the carb as soon as I got all the stuff together, and I have noticed smoother shifting ever since, and the bike runs a little cooler. How much was from the oil and how much from the jetting I can't say. Still a bear to try to find neutral sitting still with the engine running, (and yes I have checked/adjusted the clutch). If it doesn't rain again today I plan to ride it to work after it warms up a little.

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The clutch might be sticking a little. When warm can you pull in the clutch and push it in 1st, engine off?

Is the shifter mounted so that it points down? the 1-2 shifter throw is bigger than the rest, if you are not moving the shifter down enough it could be not fully engaging the new gear.

Are you shifting into 1 at too high a speed? The big ratio gap between 1 and 2 can make engagement into 1 difficult if you are moving too fast (even with clutch in and not sticking).

Dave

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The clutch might be sticking a little. When warm can you pull in the clutch and push it in 1st, engine off?

Is the shifter mounted so that it points down? the 1-2 shifter throw is bigger than the rest, if you are not moving the shifter down enough it could be not fully engaging the new gear.

Are you shifting into 1 at too high a speed? The big ratio gap between 1 and 2 can make engagement into 1 difficult if you are moving too fast (even with clutch in and not sticking).

Dave

Like Dave said, there is a large ratio difference between 1st and 2nd. If you up shift to fast from 1st to 2nd it will grind going in, if you just wait a second, slow shift, it will slide right in with no grinding, (kinda hard to do on the trail sometime though). You really can't down shift into 1st while moving more than around 5 mph unless you blip the throttle and match the rpm's to your speed or it will grind and clunk into 1st. I don't think there is anything wrong with your tranny, your just noticing (like we all do at 1st) the large gap from 1st to 2nd. I have a home made oil temp dip stick and on a 80 deg day, it takes the oil a good 25 minutes to reach temp.

Edited by zx12r

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I wouldn`t be too concerned about the shifting yet,wait till the weather warms up,,,if the oil is cool and thick shifting can be rough,,at 3000 miles the chances of trans damage is extremely slim...........doesn`t mean there isn`t a problem........but i`d want warm weather before making a judgement.........

I find that the engine takes a long time to heat up fully in cold weather.......and doesn`t get to operating temperature for quite awhile unless ridin fairly hard at low speeds........

B

Edited by brianhare

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The other guys are probably correct; I certainly hope they are. :bonk: In any event, I'm not advocating you split the crankcase immediately, there's plenty of time to examine the other possible causes for this problem. :lol: There's grinding, and then there's grinding. The XR650L has a good gear box, and I rarely hear any grinding noise when I shift. I never hear consistent grinding when I downshift, or upshift into any particular gear. However, everyone rides differently. :lol: Even if the gear dogs on the 4C gear are compromised, you won't hurt the engine if you ride a while longer, wait for the weather to warm up, and examine the other possible causes for the grinding noise. :lol: Indeed, it's always best to try the simple solutions first. :lol:

Spud :lol:

Edited by SpudRider

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The other guys are probably correct; I certainly hope they are. :bonk: In any event, I'm not advocating you split the crankcase immediately, there's plenty of time to examine the other possible causes for this problem. :lol: There's grinding, and then there's grinding. The XR650L has a good gear box, and I rarely hear any grinding noise when I shift. I never hear consistent grinding when I downshift, or upshift into any particular gear. However, everyone rides differently. :lol: Even if the gear dogs on the 4C gear are compromised, you won't hurt the engine if you ride a while longer, wait for the weather to warm up, and examine the other possible causes for the grinding noise. :lol: Indeed, it's always best to try the simple solutions first. :lol:

Spud :lol:

Not sayin you`re wrong Spud......just these bikes can make quite alot of gear noise going into first at any speed,,when the oil is cold it causes alot of clutch drag too......i`ve found when cold even with a new clutch finding neutral was difficult if not impossible until the oil warms up.......this means the oil film between the plates is thick and acts the same as a misadjusted clutch cable.......and can cause noise from 2nd to 1st....time will tell though..if it gets worse or is bad in warm weather...a misadjusted clutch or possible other problems may be a problem...

Just at this low miles,i`d try another brand of oil...like synthetic......just to see...syn oil has alot less stiction on the clutch plates,,try a 5/40 oil..see what happens.........nothin to lose there..

B

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Not sayin you`re wrong Spud......just these bikes can make quite alot of gear noise going into first at any speed,,when the oil is cold it causes alot of clutch drag too......i`ve found when cold even with a new clutch finding neutral was difficult if not impossible until the oil warms up.......this means the oil film between the plates is thick and acts the same as a misadjusted clutch cable.......and can cause noise from 2nd to 1st....time will tell though..if it gets worse or is bad in warm weather...a misadjusted clutch or possible other problems may be a problem...

Just at this low miles,i`d try another brand of oil...like synthetic......just to see...syn oil has alot less stiction on the clutch plates,,try a 5/40 oil..see what happens.........nothin to lose there..

B

I think you guys are correct, Brian. :lol: I was probably too hasty looking for gear box problems on a low mileage XR650L. Indeed, one should always look for the simpler solutions first. :lol: Maybe I'm lucky, or I'm too old and slow, but I never hear any grinding noises from the gear box in my XR650L. :bonk:

Spud :lol:

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The OP can correct me if i`m wrong.......but i think he`s probably hearing more of a clacking noise than a grinding noise,,clacking because things are moving to fast due to speed or clutch not completely releasing...for the dogs to engage cleanly..

B

Edited by brianhare

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The OP can correct me if i`m wrong.......but i think he`s probably hearing more of a clacking noise than a grinding noise,,clacking because things are moving to fast due to speed or clutch not completely releasing...for the dogs to engage cleanly..

B

That would explain a lot. Clacking noises are pretty common, but grinding noises are a different matter. :lol:

Spud :bonk:

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The OP can correct me if i`m wrong.......but i think he`s probably hearing more of a clacking noise than a grinding noise,,clacking because things are moving to fast due to speed or clutch not completely releasing...for the dogs to engage cleanly..

B

I took her to work today and tried a few different things to see if I could figure out what exactly was going on. I let it idle for a good 5 minutes before heading off. At the first few stop lights I was getting the clacking noise (it's not really a bad grinding sound, just not something I like to hear on a new to me bike :bonk: ) or no noise and it would kind of hit first and then almost jump back out and land in neutral.

I recalled watching a video that I believe was linked to on this forum somewhere that detailed the inner-workings of a sequential moto transmission, remembered something about the clutch not actually separating the gears and that as long as the rear wheel is spinning the tranny is still spinning at that speed. I tried going into first at a much lower rate of speed and viola, no noises, no neutral, smoothly into first.

So as it turns out I just sounded the alarm for a non-issue. As a few have said in reply - I'm just noticing the gap between first and second on this bike. Like I said in my first post I'm relatively new to bikes, but none of my previous bikes have had this particular issue before.

Lesson learned: just hit first when I'm at a speed that can use first.. haha. Thanks a lot for all of the help guys. This place rocks!

Edited by mattkuehn

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I'm glad you got your problem resolved with the good advice offered by the other guys, Matt. :bonk:

Spud :lol:

Edited by SpudRider

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Thanks again for the responses guys, all is working perfectly now that I'm not going into first until <10mph with a little throttle blip.

Another question I figured I'd just tack it onto this post.

How much slack / tightness should I have in the chain. I don't want to over tighten and put too much pressure on the front sprocket, correct?

Here's what I'm working with, picked her up in pretty decent condition.. I don't think she's seen much dirt in her life so far.

8499ad50.jpg

Here's a shot of the chain in question:

ff78e892.jpg

Let me know what you think.

Matt

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That's a nice bike; it's very clean. :bonk: Your drive chain certainly isn't too tight; it looks just about right to me. You're better off to have the drive chain slightly too loose rather than slightly too tight. :lol:

Spud :lol:

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Yea, its easy to adjust the chain to tight on the XRL, it looks too loose when its just right, yours looks good. A little trick I did was , when I got it adj just perfect, with the bike on its side stand, move the chain up as high as it will go with your finger, and mark that little black chain guard that sticks up with white paint on the upper side of the chain with a line, now to check the chain, you just lift up the chain and if it doesn't go too far above the line your good.

Edited by zx12r

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Awesome, I'll leave the snails as they are for now.

I'm going to do Dave's mods (jets and Uni + carb drill & needle shim) in the next week or so and have read over the reposted instructions about a hundred times. Only question I have so far is being that the bike has an aftermarket exhaust the post says to jet richer for non-stock exhaust and richer for gasahol, which I take to mean an ethanol blend of gas? I believe at the pump in WI we have 10% ethanol blend? Should I jet extra rich since I fit both of those criteria? I'm at 600ft above sea level. It says to do 55/158, any suggestions?

Sorry for all of the n00b questions, but you guys have been super helpful! Thanks again.

Edited by mattkuehn

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Awesome, I'll leave the snails as they are for now.

I'm going to do Dave's mods (jets and Uni + carb drill & needle shim) in the next week or so and have read over the reposted instructions about a hundred times. Only question I have so far is being that the bike has an aftermarket exhaust the post says to jet richer for non-stock exhaust and richer for gasahol, which I take to mean an ethanol blend of gas? I believe at the pump in WI we have 10% ethanol blend? Should I jet extra rich since I fit both of those criteria? I'm at 600ft above sea level. It says to do 55/158, any suggestions?

Sorry for all of the n00b questions, but you guys have been super helpful! Thanks again.

The size 55, pilot jet seems to work well at wide variety of elevations; I think it's a very good place for you to start. At your elevation, with your bike's configuration, I also think the size 158, main jet is a good starting point. You might also want to buy a size 160, main jet, in case the size 158, main jet is a little lean. Every bike is a different, so you will need to experiment a bit with the carburetor jetting after your modifications are completed. However, given your bike's configuration, the 55/158 jets are very good choices as you begin your tweaking. :lol:

Spud :bonk:

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The size 55, pilot jet seems to work well at wide variety of elevations; I think it's a very good place for you to start. At your elevation, with your bike's configuration, I also think the size 158, main jet is a good starting point. You might also want to buy a size 160, main jet, in case the size 158, main jet is a little lean. Every bike is a different, so you will need to experiment a bit with the carburetor jetting after your modifications are completed. However, given your bike's configuration, the 55/158 jets are very good choices as you begin your tweaking. :lol:

Spud :bonk:

Thanks a lot Spud! Ordering the parts tonight. Dave's mods here I come...

Any recommendations of what model bikes will have a rear sprocket <45 teeth (39 - 42) That will bolt up to my XRL wheel?

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