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Found 11 results

  1. I purchased a 2007 BRP last fall. The bike was purchased from a previous owner who said that the bike had been uncorked, and jetted for higher elevation(8-9k ft) in southern Wyoming. I never rode it at that elevation or heard it run. I brought the bike home to a lower elevation in Wyoming (5k ft) and noticed that after 100-75% throttle to 0-25% throttle (quick decel) the bike had an excessive amount of popping and a continuous pop all the way through the decal (the faster the speed the longer the popping). This is only when using the compression to decal as well. There is no popping on acceleration. It feels to me that it has plenty of power all the way through each each gear with wide open throttle. The PO said that he never experienced any popping on decel (he seemed to be an honest person but take with a grain of salt). At that time I tried replacing the main jet which was a 165 to a 168-172. Each one after 168 progressively made it hesitate on acceleration especially on top end and pop just as much on decel. Maybe a little less in frequency but louder. I left the 168 in due to it performing a touch better. I recently moved to North Dakota (1.5k ft) and the popping has stayed the same. Today I did a full investigation for myself of the bike and the mods that were and were not done. They are as follows: main jet = 168 pilot jet = 65s Intake = non-restricting (no D) muffler= i think stock with a different tip. Maybe drilled out? see pictures. number on muffler is Honda HM MBN A1 Throttle needle = stock. only 2 clip positions, not 5 like 2006 and before. Air Intake = removed restrictions If you would like any other basic information please request. My question is where to go from here. I just purchased a 175 main jet, a B53E needle which I will put to the 3rd position from top, a 68s pilot jet, new header gaskets, and all new gaskets for the rest of the exhaust system (just in case it's a leak). I have not put the items in because I have not received them and I am curious as to what this forum thinks. I have not adjusted the mix screw and do not plan on doing so unless needed later ( need the special tool). I am a beginner when it comes to working on bikes, but I am pretty mechanically inclined. My goal is to have the bike run well with minimal to no popping on decel. I hope I provided adequate information, and if you want to know anything else please request. Any help would be greatly appreciated, especially from Moses the admin. Seems like an awesome guy. I can upload any pics as well. Thanks in advance
  2. Dear Mr. Moses Ludel! First of all, thank you for making these awesome videos, I really liked them! In the one, where you one-kick start the xr, if only there would have been some explanation too, I hear lots of people are strugling with that. Yesterday I subscribed to some of you videos on vimeo, because I would like to learn to be my own mechanic. I am about to buy a Honda xr650r bike on this monday, for this I am traveling 1300 kilometers to Italy and back home. I wish if only I have found your videos on Vimeo and these forums earlier! I am very excited about the trip. I do not want to bore (all of) you with personal details, it is enough that I fell in love with this bike and I cant wait to have my own. I have very little knowledge about what should I pay attention to, when selecting the bike, so because of this, I kindly ask your guidance. There are two brp models that I am going to choose from. One of them (Bike A) costs 2500, the other (Bike costs 3400 euros. Bike A is close to factory state - as far as I can tell - with 11000 km only. Bike B is around 25000 km but spoiled with lots of supermoto extras. No blue smoke, no cylinder jingle that I noticed by neither of them. (I asked the sellers to send me high res pictures and video with the engine running.)e Because at first I am planning to use the bike as a supermoto, I consider the two of them equals, because I will buy the extras either way. Both of them are street legal, and documents are fine. However I prefer Bike A, I would like the adventure of building my own supermoto. Either I use it at first as an SM or as an enduro, I am sure I will learn to ride a bike really well. (I only had naked and speed bikes earlier.) So may I ask your advice, Please, what should I really pay attention to when checking them? What noise or rusty-ness should I give special attention, and basically how should I compare the bikes of totally different cost ranges? Tomorrow, I have an opportunity to take a peek on two other xr650r in my home country, so the ones I will see in Italy should not be the first time I ever see a BRP in life Blind love, it is what it is Thank you very much! Kind regards, Sandor
  3. When I pondered buying a Honda XR650R motorcycle, my BRP research spanned the web. Repeatedly, I unearthed references and horror stories about how tough it is to start these engines. Forums were rife with starting and kicking rituals, choking methods and decompression lever habits. Add the mention of stock and aftermarket carburetors, suggestions on how to use the manual decompressor, descriptions of how best to use auto-decompression, you name it. Eventually, one could get leery of approaching one of these critters or maybe buy a newer electric start KTM EXC. Common sense prevailed, after all, this is just a four-stroke motorcycle engine with 10:1 compression. I bought a BRP anyway. So affected was I that when I completed a top-engine build that should start, I didn't expect the engine to start! (Objectively, some of this carried over from the several days of trying to start the BRP with a 90% cylinder leakage prior to the restoration of the top end.) The compression was spot on, valve and spark timing perfect, a new spark plug gapped properly, and preliminary carburetor settings "by the book". The carburetor jetting, exhaust flow and choke were correct. I had even check over the carburetor, though I would subsequently "blueprint" rebuild it. With a stock Keihin carburetor jetted to known norms that make sense for this engine and our region's altitude, everything pointed to an engine that would start... I decided to use the same technique that always started my dual-carbureted '84 XR350R and '84 XR500R in sub-freezing weather or scorching summer heat. These are each motorcycles that many will never own because the "dual carburetors are junk!" This is good for the rest of us, as these four-valve thumpers are wonderful machines when tuned with the carbs sync'd properly! We can pick a nice bike up cheap. Just one example was an "as new", stored '84 XR500R that recently sold at a renown motorcycle auction for $2800. Wish I'd been there. These auctions usually generate a "fever" that drives prices to ridiculous heights, but not for a four-valve Honda thumper that has dual carburetors. Thanks to the internet, the word is out! After all the hype around BRPs and hard starting, I settled for a more rational approach—knowing that this engine should most certainly start well! And you know what? It did. Cold, I can start this engine on the first or second kick when applying the choke correctly. Once warm, as in this video, one kick ought to do it! Yet ahead, there's still the internet scuttlebutt and portent of "how bad these engines restart after laying them on their side". I've consciously avoided doing this so have no comment yet. I do have an approach for that, should the unplanned occasion present itself, and I bet it will work! This video is an honest to goodness, candid start-up of the engine. My GoPro Chesty was on for the morning's second round of Acerbis tank road testing. The bike had been setting in the driveway for twenty minutes, minding its own business. I used the manual decompressor lever simply to tickle the piston past TDC on the compression stroke...Judge for yourself. This is a properly tuned Honda XR650R. I'll make a point of filming a start-up with the dual-carbureted XR350R next time I ride it. Let's cross fingers that won't drive the price up on vintage dual-carbureted XRs!—Moses
  4. Hi Moses, I have a question about the dual-sport lighting conversion that was done on your Honda XR650R. I'm wondering what type of flasher relay was used for the turn signals. I'm trying to (re)install the turn signals on mine and, being ignorant about things electric, I am concerned that a bike with no battery may need a flasher that is different from bikes (or cars) that have batteries. The original flasher (OEM for this world-market ED/DK model) was cut out of the harness and thrown away at some point (can't figure out why though...). I went out today to find a replacement - thinking that any 12V moto flasher would do - but was only able to find 2-wire flashers, while the Honda harness provides for 3 wires. Furthermore, I was not able to find any flashers for bikes that don't have batteries. I'll look at car flashers next, but obviously none of those will have a non-battery electric system. Even if I had a source for Honda parts here, I'm not sure if the OEM flasher is available anymore - I went on the site selling international market Honda parts, and while the flasher is shown in the diagram, it is not in the price list. Are my concerns unfounded? Is a flasher just a flasher - and I only need to find one with the right amount of terminals? I know that some are designed to be impacted by the voltage draw (depending on the bulbs used), so I may end up with a fast or a slow flash, but it'd be great to at least have some kind of signal working for when I ride on the street. I can tune the flash later by changing bulbs (assuming I can find variants). Feedback welcome! David
  5. So, I have this Euro model XR650R project, and I acquired the bike right. As the upper engine rebuild and other restorative measures unfold, I'm starting to wonder what is a reasonable amount to invest here? The engine work and all the other parts I've bought are pushing things pretty close to $2k - and this bike can't be worth much more than that! Furthermore, I dropped nearly as much on new gear (helmet, boots, gloves, etc...) DON'T TELL MY WIFE! Cheers, David
  6. At the forums Garage Photo Gallery, member "FullChoke" (Greg) responded to my photo of the magazine's 1984 Honda XR350R motorcycle. We have identical '84 XR350R motorcycles. Greg's cycle has engine heat-up problems, and this raises the issue of how to keep any air-cooled dirt or dual-sport motorcycle engine running cool enough. I'll begin with sharing our exchange at the Garage (below), followed by pointers on how to keep an air-cooled dirt or dual-sport engine from overheating. ************************************************** My comments at the Garage Photo Gallery: Moses Ludel 23 September 2013 - 02:33 PM The Honda XR350R cycle has been in our stable since the late '90s. Rick Sorensen, an A&E aircraft professional, had set up this dirt motorcycle for desert enduro riding. Rick's attention to detail, tuning and appropriate upgrades has made this one of our favorite dirt motorcycles to date. When new, the 1984 XR350R came with many advanced features, including Pro-Link rear suspension, a disc front brake and the four-valve, twin-intake and exhaust thumper engine design. The performance, dependability and flexibility of this engine has been a constant source of satisfaction. Under the most challenging conditions, including crawls through milder "rock gardens", the cycle and four-valve engine have delivered tractor-like stability. In other online forums, there is much talk about the "failure prone" and "problematic" dual carburetors on the XR350R and XR500R engines. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. I have rebuilt these carburetors and set them up to factory specifications, adjusting linkage and cables accordingly. The dual 26mm Keihin carburetors are stable and flexible enough to get by with the same jetting from Johnson Valley (King of the Hammers) to timberline at Nevada's high mountain ranges. Note: I jet for our base at 4500 feet elevation. The carburetors tolerate short rides to 8,000 feet and drops to 2,500 feet. That's very flexible, and though I would re-jet for extended riding at either of these high or low altitude points, these carburetors will "function" over that range. Simply put, I'm not fiddling constantly with the carburetors. The transition to the secondary carburetor is seamless, and by making sure there are no vacuum leaks, the tuning stays rock steady. Sure, EFI delivers more power and refined tuning, but these twin Keihin 26mm carburetors do work well and can be adjusted, or even re-jetted with care and patience, when you're 120 miles from a paved road. As for handling, I always ride the motorcycle that's under me. Sure, a CRF450 or XR650R could "run circles" around these earlier XRs, but that's not what I'm riding here. The XR350R can provide a great ride when handled like, not surprisingly, a tuned XR350R and not a CRF450. This logic applies to road cycles, too. I never rode our Honda Gold Wing or the BMW K1100LT like I did my two 1969 BSA motorcycles, the lightweight 650 Lightning or the 750 Rocket III. When I hopped on my youngest son's Yamaha YZF600R6 a few years ago, that was a different story as well. For this XR350R workhorse, I'm considering a dual-sport conversion kit from Baja Designs to enable highway access. We have an '84 XR500R waiting in the wings for restoration, another dual-sport candidate. Each of these bikes would weigh under 300 pounds converted, much nimbler on dirt than a KLR or BMW in any form. Nevada's new OHV permit program makes it just as sensible to opt for a DOT-standards conversion and license ("plate") an XR for dual-sport use. We carry insurance either way. On that note, expect details shortly on what direction this takes. If the dual-sport conversion route, I'll cover the steps at the magazine in an HD video 'how-to'. Moses Greg's comments at the Garage Photo Gallery: fullchoke Yesterday, 09:22 PM The1984 xr350r has a history of running hot and burning up. I think that was blamed on the new head design and the 2 carb system. Possibly the overheating could benefit with richer jetting. I know mine gets hotter faster than any bike I've owned. I haven't run it much and when it is used it has been a buddy's bike, usually run fairly slow. When compared to other bikes running over the same terrain it is noticeably hotter. For that reason I run a full synthetic oil, hoping for more protection with a higher boiling point. The front disc brake is a very nice feature, best thing about a very good bike. Greg ******************************************************************* How-to troubleshoot an air-cooled motorcycle engine overheating problem: As for overheating, let's start with a systematic troubleshoot. First and obviously, the engine cooling fins must be clean with sufficient air flow. Also, a four-stroke engine does not like to idle for extended periods in still air. This even applies to liquid cooled dirt and dual-sport motorcycle engines. (There are constant internet discussions about overheat, even on models like the liquid cooled XR650R and others.) Two-strokes with premix fuel have less tendency to overheat, though heat can still be an issue. When we ride extensively in the desert during hotter weather, I'm always conscious of air flow. After a good high speed streak or even picking through basaltic rock flows, my Honda XR350R remains "reasonably" cool. I'll let the engine idle for just a moment to help stabilize temperatures before shutting it off. We do crawl in stand-up-on-the-pegs type challenges, one location in particular is at high altitude. This engine has never reached critical temperatures. Your use of synthetic oil can help, too. Running cool at high altitudes is in part what you suggest. Proper jetting for sea level to 4,500 feet, then running the engine at 7,000 feet, makes the fuel mixture richer. I've never fouled a spark plug or experienced blubbering or unstable operation with these richer mixtures. In my experience, jetting is not that sensitive on these four-strokes, they are way more flexible than many give credit. Main jetted for best performance at 2,500-5,000 feet (our typical high desert country), this same engine has run flawlessly from 2,300 feet on the floor at Johnson Valley, CA to nearly 7,000 feet—without a re-jet. Of course, if the engine were operated consistently at 6,000 feet or higher, I would re-jet. Keep the jetting within a reasonable range. Read the spark plug color after a hard, open throttle run and prompt shutdown! That's the main jet's realm. If anything, jet slightly rich. In current jetting, my XR350R can run at sea level without burning a hole in the piston. Again, if I were to run the length of Baja, I would jet for sea level to 4,000 feet. Never jet so rich that fuel can wash oil off the cylinder walls nor so lean that the valves and piston are at risk! Learn to read the spark plug. Often overlooked is the importance of proper valve clearance. Valves adjusted too tight will cause engine overheating and also lower compression. Unseated valves lead to valve face burnout and seat damage, too. Adjust valves to specification, and also adjust the decompression lever and kick start cables. This is a big part of maintenance on the XR350R, the XR500R and similar Honda dirt bike models. The auto-decompression camshaft design eliminates the kick starter cable on later XRs. However, the manual (handlebar) decompression lever adjustment remains very important on every one of these models. On the XR models with dual carburetors, folks need to get over the idea that these engines never run right. Actually, this myth is helpful to those of us who value the dual-carburetor era, Pro-Link models—you can buy them at bargain prices! A common mistake is for the carburetors to be sync'd improperly. There is a very clear adjustment here, which I can share if necessary. Be aware that these carburetors do not open simultaneously! The linkage is actually "progressive", with a lag stage as the primary carburetor provides a smooth idle and light tip-in air/fuel flow. Then the secondary carburetor (which has no idle mix screw) comes into play. Think of this like an automotive engine with a progressive four-barrel carburetor or multiple carburetors. Adjust the cables and the staged throttle linkage to specification. These engines will start readily and run fantastically if the jetting, float level and needle settings are correct! General footnote: Current ethanol fuel wreaks havoc on motorcycle carburetor passageways. Do not leave the bike parked for long periods with fuel in the carburetor bowls. Shut the petcock, and with the bike upright, burn fuel until the engine stalls. Fuel standing in the bowl will clog jets, it did mine. The immediate symptom is an unstable idle and poor low throttle response. (I ended up rebuilding both carburetors after letting the cycle sit for too long with "winterized" and "Ethanol" mix fuel in the tank and bowls!) Use a fuel stabilizer additive, this can help for shorter storage. Long term, drain the fuel tank and the carburetor(s). Without stabilizer, fuel can become stale and worthless in months, depending upon the climate. Air/fuel flow and ratio are a critical part of air-cooled engine performance. Keep the air filter clean and oiled properly, whether stock type or aftermarket. A clogged cleaner element will make the engine run rich or stall, much like leaving the choke on. Also, when considering a lean fuel mixture, always take air leaks into account. Air leaks on the manifold side of the carburetor(s), between the head and carburetors, can lean out the fuel mixture. Check for leaks at flanges and junctions. Using a can of spray carburetor cleaner or WD-40, spray a fine mist at flanges with the engine idling. This can quickly turn up an air leak as the engine speed flares up or changes. Avoid spraying at high heat areas that can ignite the spray! Once you've worked through the intake side, make sure there are no exhaust restrictions. I have a "tunable" SuperTrapp exhaust end that is set up with the right number of discs for proper backpressure. I periodically remove the disks and gently bead blast the carbon away to keep tuning accurate. Improper exhaust backpressure or clogging can be a major source of overheat on a motorcycle engine. After fuel mixture/jetting, carburetor sync'ing, air leaks and exhaust restrictions and tune, there is the ignition spark and timing. Of course, spark must be adequate, and the spark plug should be the correct heat range, especially on an air-cooled engine. A "hotter" plug can be serious trouble if not in place for a good reason. Hotter spark than the stock Honda ignition (in good condition) is rarely necessary. Note: The compression ratio is higher, so you also need to run better octane fuel, especially at lower elevations. This may not be true for high altitude. I can run 87-octane in the XR350R at 4,000-8,000 feet because the atmosphere effectively lowers the compression ratio. I am not as flexible with the Honda XR650R at 10:1 compression and a bore size within 0.060" of a 327 or 350 cubic inch Chevy V-8! If you're at a lower elevation with high compression, spring for 91-92 octane fuel. This helps prevent detonation/ping, overheat and stress to the engine. For an XR500R, XR600R or XR650R, I would run 91-92 octane all the time. The last item on our checklist is spark timing. Either retarded or over-advanced, spark timing error can kill a motorcycle engine. Check the spark timing from idle to full-advance at speed. Make sure the timing advance is set properly. You can test with a conventional timing light or a light with built-in advance, this is not rocket science. I can help cast light on the procedure and expected results. With an electronic ignition, spark timing either works or it does not. If a motorcycle is old enough to have a mechanical spark advance mechanism, like our BSAs of yore, a sticking or defective spark advance mechanism can cause overheating as well as performance problems. Of course, there are overheat causes unrelated to the engine, like too much friction in the gear train or binding brakes (a sticky front or rear brake caliper, brake shoes dragging or warped/defective rotors and drums). Wheel bearing resistance, low tire pressure or chain drag can also overheat an engine. Check for resistance with the motorcycle wheels and tires lifted safely off the ground or floor. This is a place to start, and I am happy to continue this discussion. Glad that FullChoke triggered this topic, that's what these forums are all about! Moses
  7. Building a motorcycle engine for reliable performance begins with careful assembly work. The Honda XR650R project came under the close scrutiny of an HD video camera, and the result is the 49:37-minute streaming video rental at Vimeo On Demand. Following the build, proper break-in of the engine is crucial. During assembly of the XR650R top-engine, care was taken to lubricate critical parts for the initial engine startup. This included lube on the piston pin, rings, valve stems, camshaft, valve tips and timing chain—as illustrated and detailed in the video. Lubeguard Assembly Lube, Permatex Ultra-Slick Assembly Lube and Lucas break-in oil with zinc were each used accordingly. The importance of zinc additive during break-in cannot be overstated. When a cylinder has been honed precisely like the work performed at L.A. Sleeve Company, piston ring seating is less of a concern than the camshaft break-in. Ring seating is still important, and I will describe my technique for ring-to-cylinder wall break-in: To begin, I use a non-synthetic oil that will provide enough friction to actually seat the rings. Synthetic oil often has too much of a protective film to allow necessary friction. After break-in, I will change to full-synthetic oil and dramatically decrease ring wear by providing an extra friction barrier or film between the cylinder wall and rings. Ring seating can be dramatically enhanced by smoothly accelerating the engine and decelerating the engine. Heavy throttle for sustained periods should be avoided for an initial timeframe (at least an hour of operation or 60-100 miles of road use). When you decelerate the engine, the piston rings push out against the cylinder wall. As noted in the video, the top compression ring for the Honda XR650R has a gas ledge machined on its upward facing, inside edge. This raises ring pressure against the cylinder wall, especially during acceleration/deceleration cycles. This increased pressure quickly seats the rings. Caution: A sure way to prevent rings from seating is repeated hard acceleration without any deceleration cycles. Gradual acceleration, limiting peak rpm and regular deceleration cycles get the best results. Camshaft break-in is highly significant. Damage to a new camshaft's lobes during break-in can occur quickly. The absence (deletion) of zinc from current motor oils has made this issue even more critical. (I discuss this at length in response to a Jeep 4.0L flat tappet camshaft and oil question here at the forums, read that information at the topic link.) On the Honda XR650R engine, an aftermarket camshaft from Hot Cams came with very specific instructions on initial startup and break-in. I include those concerns in my camshaft startup and break-in approach: During upper engine assembly, Lucas break-in oil with zinc was added to the oil (poured over the camshaft) prior to startup. The amount used was based on the product's instructions, and I reduced the quantity in proportion to the quantity of oil in the Honda XR650R lubrication system. At the first startup, the engine was run at 2,500 rpm immediately after picking up oil pressure. On the motorcycle lift and strapped upright, the motorcycle's engine was cycled between 2,500-3,000 rpm with a large electric fan in front of the cooling radiators for the first 20 minutes before idling down to 1500 rpm. (I used an infrared thermal gun to monitor cylinder, head and exhaust header heat this entire time.) After the initial 20-minute run on the stand, the initial road/trail miles involve a cycling speed between 1400 rpm (idle) and an estimated maximum of 3,500-4,000 rpm (no tachometer on this dirt bike). I run for 20-30 minutes at a time, varying the road or trail speeds, then cool the engine completely before repeating the cycle. Make sure that your lighter on-road or on-trail use provides sufficient cooling air to the radiators and cylinder. Earlier morning or cooler evening rides are helpful. Avoid idling for extended periods, and avoid over-revving the engine. I avoid redline shifts for at least the first 100-150 miles or 1.5-2 hours of operation. Considering the operating speeds for a four-stroke motorcycle engine compared to an automotive engine, three hours (approximately 200 miles) of concentrated effort to break-in the camshaft properly should be sufficient. Rings should be sufficiently seated now...At this point, the oil should be drained warm and thoroughly; I switch to synthetic oil now. Note: During this oil change on the XR650R engine, I will remove the frame (down tube) oil screen (not the inside-engine screen) for inspection and cleaning. A new oil filter is mandatory; inspect the removed oil filter for unusual debris. In the road test video, I'm on the throttle but not redlining. I don't baby (never "lug") or abuse (do not over-rev or throttle hard) an engine during break-in. Constantly monitor engine temperature and avoid overheating or extensive idling. The Honda XR650R showed no signs of "blue smoke" (ring blowby or valve guide seepage) from the very first start onward. You should not see blue smoke or significant oil consumption if the cylinder has been honed properly, the rings were installed correctly and the valve guides are sealing. By 200 miles or 3 hours of operation, a motorcycle engine should have sufficient break-in to no longer be a critical concern. As long as oil consumption (ring blowby) does not occur with the switch to synthetic oil, the engine is ready for reasonably "normal" use—whatever that means for your riding style. For the properly built engine, with correct break-in, a quality synthetic oil will determine the lifespan of the rings, valve guides, timing chain, camshaft, rocker arms, engine bearings, piston/pin, and other critical moving parts. Wear is greatly reduced by the use of synthetic oil. Unlike an automobile or truck engine, wear will be much more significant on a motorcycle engine that operates consistently above 3,000 rpm. Wear is all about piston travel and valve opening events, and synthetic oil can make a difference here. Moses
  8. Demand for more off-pavement motorcycle coverage has led to the launch of 'The Off-Road Motorcycle Channel' at the 4WD Mechanix Magazine's HD Video Network! The new channel covers dirt, off-road and dual-sport motorcycles, including tech how-to, step-by-step tuning and repairs, troubleshooting, backcountry riding and survival tips—everything related to off-road and dual purpose/dual-sport motorcycling! Inspired by the needs of the magazine's 2000 Honda XR650R motorcycle, the channel launched with HD video tech how-to coverage in Vimeo Pro 1080P full-screen detail. Whether you own an iconic XR650R Honda big-bore XR thumper motorcycle or a similar four-stroke, overhead camshaft motorcycle, you'll find the launch coverage of interest. The Honda XR650R cylinder head inspection after tear down. See the full HD video coverage. Check out 'The Off-Road Motorcycle Channel' playlist at: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/The-Off-Road-Motorcycle-Channel.html! Moses
  9. The magazine's Honda XR650R performs remote field work as an HD video filming platform. Reliability is essential. After purchasing the bike in non-running condition, I ran a compression test when the engine refused to start. I moved from the simple compression test to a full-fledged cylinder leak down test, the pinpoint diagnostic tool of choice. Want to know more about a leak down test? Click here for the 4WD Mechanix HD Video Network feature and details on the leak down test! High cylinder leakage called for a top end inspection and repairs. That tear down for inspection can be found at the magazine as the HD video how-to: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Honda-XR650R-Motorcycle-Upper-Engine-Rebuild-Part-1-Tear-Down-How-to.html. At left is the cylinder leak down test covered in the HD video how-to. At right is the actual top engine tear down, part of the current rebuild. See both HD videos at the magazine for details! The step-by-step teardown, rebuild and assembly are now a single HD video streaming rental at Vimeo On Demand. Included in this rental is a bonus feature on valve adjustment (which is also available as a separate streaming rental). You will find this 54-minute feature at: http://www.vimeo.com/ondemand/hondaxr650r. Here is a review of that rental video: "Coming across this video couldn't have been more fortuitous - both in timing and content. I happened to inherit a motorcycle of the exact same type and with the exact same problems as the one starring in the clip. The author/producer treats the subject thoroughly and with close-ups giving great detail of the matter at hand. Not only that, he has an online magazine with a forum through which he is eminently available for input and feedback. Having watched this gave me the confidence to embark on the solution on my own - saving loads of money and learning in the process."—David E.
  10. I recently started a topic on the merits of doing a dual-sport conversion and "plating" a dirt motorcycle rather than purchasing an OHV permit ("sticker"). Within my home State of Nevada, and many other states from coast to coast, it is perfectly legal to convert an off-road (dirt) motorcycle into a dual-sport for both on- and off-highway use. The motorcycle must be brought to DOT and state on-highway equipment standards. Insurance is a requirement as with any other highway legal vehicle. Such conversions are not allowed in the neighboring State of California on motorcycles built after 1977. There is much discussion across the motorcycle community regarding California's off-road motorcycle to dual sport conversion policy. I took the time to research the California rules. Here is a quick recap of what I shared earlier about the State of California ruling: "...The conversion of off-highway "dirt" motorcycles (deemed "off-road use" by the cycle manufacturer, DOT and EPA) has not been allowed within the Golden State since February 1, 2004. There are two exceptions: 1) motorcycles built prior to 1978, and 2) 1978-up cycles with less than 50cc displacement...According to the current regulations, California dual-sport conversions were acceptable on motorcycles built through model year 2002 if the conversion was completed and paperwork submitted to the DMV prior to February 1, 2004. From January 1, 2004 forward, the DMV has required "verification" or proof that the motorcycle came with an EPA and/or California emissions label for on-highway use. This ruling about "verification" went into effect on January 1, 2004, with a one-month "grace period" during that month....If there was a street title issued within these timeframes and the cycle has current registration and street use insurance, the cycle is still legal for highway or dual-purpose use...The internet is rife with rumors, anecdotal stories and speculation about the fate of California plated dual-sport motorcycles converted after January 31, 2004. According to a statement that reflects the actual California DMV regulations, some have good reason to fear: statement of the rulings. If you're puzzled, contemplating a dual-sport conversion or considering a cycle purchase intended for California registration, read the statement and at least know where you stand. Check with the DMV about whether "grandfathering" applies when an earlier dual-sport conversion goes through a title/ownership change." Just today, I purchased an ultra-low mileage Honda XR650R for a dual-sport conversion. At Nevada and many other states, this is a popular candidate for a dual-sport conversion. This particular motorcycle was first sold in Texas, had a Texas title, and was actually equipped for street legal use in the State of Texas. Nevada requires a complete verification of the conversion equipment, based on DOT and Nevada standards. The motorcycle will be inspected for its street legal equipment and DOT tires. This cycle currently has a Baja Designs dual-sport conversion kit, which will meet Nevada requirements as it did in the State of Texas. The seller/owner was denied California dual-sport registration and titling on this 2000 Honda XR650R. The sole explanation from the DMV was that the motorcycle did not have an on-highway OEM emissions sticker. This sticker is issued on EPA and EPA/California certified motorcycles built and sold for highway use. Note: Using the VIN, many motorcycles can be segregated quickly as "off-road use only" and "highway use". 2003-up cycles with a "C" or "3" in the 8th position of the VIN are automatically classified as "red sticker" or restricted off-road use with non-compliant emissions. Since February 1, 2004, no 1978 up off-highway motorcycle, green or red sticker eligible, has been eligible to convert into a dual-sport by the State of California. I'll skip the anecdotes and stories about motorcycles that have undergone a conversion after February 1, 2004, those owners that managed to secure a license plate in California. Cases of "knowing someone" or a "friendly" (more likely a naïve or overwhelmed) DMV counterperson who let one slip by, or whatever, are not as important as California's regulation on the books that says conversions on 1978-up motorcycles are not legal after January 1, 2004. Whether California thoroughly enforces this ruling or not, there is a regulation. When did California Air Resources Board start addressing motorcycle tailpipe emissions? Here is a statement from the California DMV's official "Vehicle Industry News": "The California Air Resources Board (ARB) established emission regulations for on-highway motorcycles beginning with 1978 year models. These regulations require an off-highway motorcycle to have an emission label affixed to the vehicle indicating certification by the manufacturer for on-highway use when converting to on-highway or dual registration. ARB, DMV, and the California State Parks' Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division mutually agreed to begin implementation of these regulations January 1, 2004." If you own a motorcycle sold and marketed as an "off-highway" model, can you now get a "label" from the motorcycle's manufacturer? No—the manufacturer did not pursue such a label for this particular dirt motorcycle model. A label implies that the motorcycle has passed EPA and/or California emission standards and can be operated on the highway. So, why doesn't the manufacturer do this, especially in cases where the actual tailpipe emissions are in compliance with highway requirements? The reason is clear: These strictly dirt motorcycles may have a "clean" tailpipe, but they do not have D.O.T. approved lighting, a brake light, mirrors, reflectors and such. California's Air Resources Board apparently takes the position that motorcycles without these emissions labels were not "clean air" certified, and without certification, they were considered "polluters"—simply because they were not certified. The presumption is that off-highway "dirt" motorcycles built from 1978-up might create a pollution issue in California. Are four-stroke motorcycles "gross polluters"? Judging by fuel efficiency and the tuning requirements to run right, these vehicles should be contributing less tailpipe pollution per mile than automobiles, trucks and busses...Two-stroke engines, with high hydrocarbon emissions, might arguably be considered an issue, so we'll stick to four-strokes. Motorcycle engines, like other gasoline engines, run best at stoichiometric 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio when cruising. Tuning a motorcycle to run richer than stoichiometric would be detrimental to performance (unless there is a high performance camshaft and boosted compression ratio that will tolerate richer mixtures). In many cases, a street motorcycle engine design and its tuning will appear in an off-road motorcycle. It can be reasonably assumed that dirt tuning is somewhat like street tuning. (Crankcase emissions and evaporative emissions are a whole other issue.) Even if the off-road motorcycle ran richer, consider the displacement of dirt motorcycle engines. A well engineered 650cc engine is enormous for a dirt bike. True dirt bikes weigh so little that, in the case of an "uncorked" Honda XR650R, you're looking at a power-to-weight ratio of under 6 pounds (considering the bare cycle alone) per horsepower! The Baja racing version of these cycles has more like 4.5 pounds per horsepower. Given the relatively small displacement and this level of power to weight ratio, a motorcycle should be incapable, in reasonable tune, of being a gross polluter when compared to pre-catalytic converter automobiles, trucks/SUVs, commercial vehicles or a bus. Some argue that a motorcycle is typically one-person transportation. Has anyone checked recently to see what percentage of California's SUVs are in the two-person commuter lanes and how many SUVs have only a driver/occupant? Any state genuinely concerned about air quality and pollution levels should applaud any increase in motorcycle transportation on the streets. The lone motorcyclist, even on a "Big Red Pig" Honda XR650R converted dual sport motorcycle cannot possibly pollute as much as a popular SUV with California emissions certification. Lower compression engines in cycles like the street legal Honda XR650L (air-cooled) or a KLR Kawasaki can deliver 50-plus mpg. Even a properly tuned BRP, known for winning the Baja 1000 many times in modified form, can muster 40-plus mpg when driven sanely. Isn't that a measure of clean air success while reducing our dependency on foreign oil? Or are we so bureaucratic and rule-oriented in states like California that stickers and labels take precedence over dramatic reductions in fuel consumption and less pollution per mile from the use of smaller engines? As motorcycles shift to EFI from carburetors, tailpipe emission concerns decrease even more. Forward thinking manufacturers like KTM and Christini have now certified (at least EPA) their competitive dirt motorcycle models. (The KTM 500EXC and Christini 450DS are two examples.) These cycles are both DOT and EPA legal out of the box. Honda and others must follow. The lightweight, dual-sport motorcycle market is wide open. Consumers want lightweight, bona fide dirt motorcycles that are "dual-sports" for the purpose of titling, registering and legally running on public highways. Sure, a 250 pound dirt bike with knobby DOT tires is hardly the best candidate for the Autobahn or cross-country interstate highways. However, it does eliminate the need to lug your cycle to the OHV park in a pickup or on a trailer! In the meantime, there are many thousands of affordable used four-stroke dirt motorcycles out there whose owners could benefit from riding on the highway. Imagine, they'd be parking their pickup truck that gets 14 mpg and getting 35-60 mpg on the highway—if they can keep the front wheel on the ground... Moses
  11. There's never been a time when someone else performed my motorcycle service work...Having always purchased "pre-owned" bikes, more than a dozen of them over the last half-century, there's never been a warranty requirement for taking a cycle "back to the dealer"... Of course, I strongly support OEM tech training and service work performed to factory specs at the dealership. For those who do not want to work on their own cycle, I recommend factory-trained techs and tooling. OEM parts are always a plus, I'm a frequent customer for genuine Honda and other brand parts... I enjoy several things about motorcycle work. Since I like to spin wrenches, and many of us do, motorcycles are a great place to build and retain skills. Motorcycle work is far less cumbersome than automotive and truck work, although I'm well schooled and trained at both. At home, our neighbors are way more comfortable watching me tune a dirt motorcycle than dropping and rebuilding an automatic transmission from a 4x4 truck...So much for suburbia, anyway... The additional benefits of working on your own cycle, especially a dirt bike headed to remote places, are self-sufficiency and acquiring troubleshooting skills. You know your way around the motorcycle and can quickly become oriented for repairs or emergency fixes in the field. My earliest sense of motorized accomplishment was the restoration of a 1955 Cushman/Allstate scooter. The $8 "discovery", with a loudly knocking motor, tossed its connecting rod on my first ride—the loose rod snapped the camshaft in half and destroyed the iron block casting. The incentive for bringing that scooter back was to ride on Nevada's streets and highways, legally, at the age of 14. That Cushman scooter launched my lifelong interest in motorcycle, automotive and truck service work and technology. Fifty years later, I vividly recall passing my written license exam and the satisfaction I had with the engine and other work to get—and keep—that Cushman running. I still enjoy motorcycle work, and to celebrate my 50th year of riding and working on road and dirt motorcycles, I invested in a Harbor Freight 1000# motorcycle lift...Check out the forum post at: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/forums/index.php/topic/83-harbor-freight-1000-motorcycle-lift—best-buy-on-the-planet/ Moses
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