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Old 08-18-2014, 08:58 AM   #1
Newd001 OP
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XL250R Tear Down/Rebuild/Story

1987 XL250R with plenty of info/pictures
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:21 AM   #2
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Any chance you will be posting them?
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:42 AM   #3
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Firefox keeps crashing due to picture size, of which I have hundreds for the build seriously, apparently 1600x1200 is the max so I must resize any that I want to upload...
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:51 AM   #4
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For that many pics I'd suggest hosting them on Smugmug or Photobucket and linking them.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:09 AM   #5
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Ah, many thanks for the advice, my apologies as this will take some time to get everything but I'll try, for I am pro noob poster.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:11 AM   #6
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Welcome
First off, hello to all of yourselves, as riders and forum users. Although this may be my first writing of a post (or story really), it certainly isn't my first use of them, including here at ADVRider, so I give a thanks to all of yourselves for taking your time to participate. So for a preview, whats this guy going to talk about? Pretty much my first almost two years of riding and my albeit few so far, riding experiences , but also a full nut and bolt restoration of my 1987 Honda XL250R, so if you in particular have this bike, I'D ADVISE YOU TO READ FURTHER.


Beginning/Reasons/Purchase
I suppose that my reasons for always wanting to ride would be in large part to my enjoyment and comfort for all things mechanical/greasy/utilitarian. There is a certain zen factor to all of these things, particularly in maintenance and customization, as well as rigorous problem solving that can enhance any ones ability to do as such in all aspects of life, and really something that I think people should have the opportunity to properly experience at some point. Back to actual bikes, my father now in his 60's and retired was active in the community from his youth up until the 90's, partially because I as a second child entered the picture, but also due to an unfortunate accident that my mother had on one of his bikes at the time. These bikes then lived life in the elements in the back yard instead of the road from then on, a 1969 Honda cb750, and 1976 Yamaha XT500 as below (Every summer we do some house renovations, we DON'T have this much junk I promise...).



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Old 08-18-2014, 10:14 AM   #7
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I would often sit on these and just look at them and think about the thrill of riding in hopes of doing so later on. To a degree, I did have some early experience of riding (middle school or even earlier?) on a farm where I would buck hay in the summers on a Honda 90, with a certain smile factor about it of course. Fast forward to my college days and my good friend and myself decided to get our endorsements as rewards for our two year completion at the time. Sure, you could go to the DMV and ride around some cones for your endorsement, but at least for ourselves (anyone for that matter) with a lack of on road experience should be formally educated to protect yourself and others, plus a reduction on insurance, no more pesky cones, and sweet stickers and a swag bag to seal the deal. Thankfully, we had a really fun and exuberant instructor so the course was a great experience, and with just a little more money, M's on our licensees. Unfortunately for him, as he works at his fathers business and receives his paychecks there, he wasn't able to join riding from their opposition, but things change, and my soon to be new roommate has a bike so experiences will be shared soon. My bike is coming, but first one needs some gear, because without it how could you test ride? In my home town of Albany OR, there is a store called Mr.Eds Moto that serves primarily gear, but also does some servicing and parts as well. It may have been the first place I went to for gear, and quickly became my choice due to some exceptional service and willingness to share thoughts of all things motorcycle, decent pricing considering the small business it is, and cute attendants doesn't hurt either. Moving now to my bike, I originally wanted a 84-86 Honda Nighthawk 700SC because to me these are the most aesthetically pleasing bikes of any in stock form and are somewhat available in my area, perhaps in luck one can be a project down the road (supposing I get to one of the backyard decorations first). In this process of looking for a bike, my father wanted to provide input, more in the form of a smaller bike, so it turned out that the son of a long time friend of his had the XL250R still at his fathers and never rode it. It was to my knowledge the bike that he learned to ride on some years ago since they had owned it since 2005, of which the father still has a XL600R as a matching big brother if you will, and might be united again in the future. The bike itself had traveled all the way to Iowa where the son was living and still had those tags when I went to look at it. I brought 1000 cash with me not being sure whether I really wanted the bike, but when you are wanting one and are presented with a sale it fairly hard to say no if things feel alright. I further studied the bike which was fairly solid overall, was decent looking enough and not rough by any measure, and was a good runner despite what was thought as a blown head gasket, part of the reason why it wasn't ridden often. More friendly discussion lead to the eventual sale of the bike, where it just so happened that he was looking for the exact amount I had brought, and I didn't feel like bargaining with a fair offer (others in our area will ask near 1800 for a worse condition similar model). Trailered it to the parents home and placed under the patio because they live a block away from the community college where there is plenty of open asphalt to tear up, and every tool I could ever need was also there instead of my home about 25 miles away.


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Old 08-18-2014, 10:19 AM   #8
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Needless to say I was the happiest kid on the block even putting around the parking lot, and the bike was still running strong. Sure, things like the breaks were rather weak and unable to lock up either tire under controlled efforts, and power was fair across the rev range with intermittent sputtering and times, suspension was rather soft as it should be, but on the road at least little travel was found. This was all great, but man was it a real mother f___ to get started. Things like the automatic decompression lever and other mechanical components were fine, but it was really temperamental to actually finding the ignition even after finding TDC on the stroke with a strong kick. Really wasn't hard to kick by any means thanks to a dismal 80psi, under half of the 180-210psi that is called for, but you kick any bike long enough you’ll grow tired regardless of your own shape (next bike electric starter, check). I continued to put around my parents, get it licensed and continued general maintenance from the purchase month of October 2012 until the first real ride to my place some 25 miles away probably 3 months later if memory serves me right. One thing I also forgot to mention was that insurance for this little 250 paid with cash was incredible, under 120$ for each year liability, and when also considering that it gets better than 70mpg you really can't argue against it financially. Otherwise as a break from schooling I continued to ride every other weekend in the country side of the Willamette Valley with a plethora of vineyards, open grasslands, poignant overgrown swamps, and very light off road forest travels. One issue that did develop was a really bad bogging problem that was rare and completely random just when entering an uphill grade. While the bike wouldn't completely cut out, all power would be lost in any gear and no revs could be gained in any throttle position, and miraculously sometimes about 20 seconds later all would be perfect again, or I'd pull over turn her off, start and be on my merry way (obvious culprit of the carbs, but in cleaning decent state of jets were found). Remember the friend from earlier who took the class with me? Well his parents have some awesome property right on the dunes and I thought it would be fun to ride the bike there. The whole trip totaled 130 miles through the back highways and little towns, all of which are still doing well in the area. It may have taken around 2 hours at a steady 55, but it certainly felt longer, though not tiring by any means, even for the bike which held strong and was pleasant throughout. Perhaps I'll take more of HWY 101 next time because I didn't have enough twisty's in my route, but certainly scenic enough. This trip would have been in March of 2013, fast forward now to sometime in June on a nice weekend and attempt to go for a ride, but someone was really temperamental even after some 20 minutes of starting attempts, checking spark, clearing the cylinder from flooding, making me quite aggravated and the day less enjoyable obviously. Interestingly my job as a wild land firefighter makes me have quite the reduced summer in terms of leisure, but on the few days that I would be home a few more attempts were made, but again to no avail. Enter the end of summer and work with about one week until the start of school on a boring day with a great idea, enjoy the bike again at all costs, RESTORATION TIME.


Plans/Tear Down
To say that I saw this coming would be somewhat incorrect, but to say that I had the hopes in doing so would be spot on. Let me remind you first that the only real problem to the bike was a lack of compression, the likely culprit being a blown head gasket, otherwise the bike was in more than fair condition mechanically and cosmetically. That being said, when I was originally looking at bikes I was looking for a non runner, with lots of TLC needed, so this transitioned to this as a project, with the goals and ambitions being a complete nut and bolt restoration, both to keep myself busy on down time and ease my mind of never doing such a project before, plus money burning a hole in the pocket is never good. Throughout the ownership of the bike I had listed much of what I thought would be needed such as new tires and other goodies, but I had also researched (mostly from forums, again thanks to all whose information I found) some parts that I could add to both help performance and aesthetics that I found to be cool, mostly from XR models. Bearing this in mind, tear down begins, and I must apologize for not having more previous pictures, but I rushed into it, so reference material is missing. Nothing much exciting here other than my mess and various parts, mostly to see their conditions, also these early pictures were taken with a very old 3 mega pixel camera, so yes the photos are poor and will get better I promise.

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:37 AM   #9
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On the back side of the piston here you will see the somewhat darker spot, definite scouring that can also be seen on the piston wall later. Surely not helping to the non running condition, this was one of a few signs of neglect, possible hard riding, and someone had been in the internals before, but not form the owners who I bought it from. It actually turned out that this was already an oversize piston at 75mm, a stock one being 74.80mm so perhaps not the most accurate boring/honing previously. You can also see the various locations missing paint on the case, to be taken care of later. Ah, one more thing, see the chain tensioner right behind? Well on these models there is a slide on the top that when pressed will release tension so the spring slide can be raised and locked by a small pin hole to ease the cam chain removal process, well no luck as such and not caused by a stretched chain but something in the guide itself found later, so if this happens to you just be patient and deal with it in assembly if the chain is in measurable spec.






Another unexpected surprise, the spark arrestor had rotted out from the bottom as well as the end piece, I had noticed a small amount of this previously but certainly not to this degree.


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Old 08-18-2014, 10:50 AM   #10
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Here are is an obvious location of grime accumulation, which partially makes sense as being the forward facing aspect, but not in the fact that it was wet, likely the blown side. Also in the jug was a helicoil job, overtoqued maybe, but aluminum is rather soft compared to steel so perhaps it was just fate. In the next picture you can also see the scouring that was mentioned, not noticeable by touch or fingernail, but needed to be addressed for longevity and reliability. Roller bearing cams are also great for longevity as any wear is found in the bearing itself, not the actual head journals, however the cam guide was bent upon removal, but is easily bent by hand as it is hard rubber not entirely metal.





More tear down pictures of wire routing for reference.


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Old 08-18-2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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Plenty of pictures of wire routing for you all, if it helps you great, if not a service manual, which I sadly couldn't find in pdf form but they can be found on ebay for around 40$, mine included a 3 inch binder with a few other models and years and sales brochures that are pretty cool. On the odometer you can note the original miles, when I purchased it had about 500 less, so not bad for one year but certainly not enough. Now for the first custom touch, an external oil cooler from a 1986 XR250 found on ebay. Now was this something that the bike needed, well no, but it was something cool to add that was actually found on only a small number of the XR models and has to provide some sense of comfort in reduced temps right? The oil cooler, attaching nuts bolts, dual oil lines and plastic retainer were found for the low price of 100$ (okay not low, but for a complete system this is the cheapest online I could find). I'll admit that this price in itself is questionable, but when you factor in a new clutch/right crankcase cover for 35$ as well as a higher flowing oil pump for 25$ both from a XR250 model as well again from ebay and both required (perhaps not the pump, but different internal blade/fin drive numbers were found so there is a difference in the psi it can provide and should be considered for the amount of travel the oil must now pass) how could I say no? I should also mention that a cooler from a XR600 model can be found that is larger in the number of fins and subsequent overall height that it has, but otherwise it is the same general shape and fitment. Perhaps now would also be a good time to mention where most of my genuine parts orders came from, mostly cosmetic items, but various gaskets and ALMOST every possible part on the bike. The source was SERVICEHONDA.COM, obviously an online retailer, but located in the middle U.S. with local pickup available, almost ever order is 20$ in shipping, but the actual parts are found from very helpful exploded diagrams at a fair price, and includes other brands and models, though some parts listed as available truly aren't, or will wait on back order for some time. That being said, they have the cheapest prices for individual parts that I could find, and have nice enough customer service, so I give my recommendation. In these pictures, notice how there are no fork tubes installed? First mistake, but corrected later.






As you can see there is plenty of room around the cooler itself, but things like the horn would obviously have to be moved, and the fact that it is (unknown to me) mounted to far forward and low. Final pictures of disassembly follow.







Engine case removed from the frame, as a recommendation if you can orient the frame in this way, or can tie down the frame somehow this will make removal as easy of a few seconds, as the case may weigh about 30 lbs, but can be awkward and must enter/exit from the passenger/right side of the frame.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:04 PM   #12
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Honda NX250??
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:22 PM   #13
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Many thanks for looking, I'll try to post more today but I can only do so much until I need to do something else. This is all post facto if you will for the build that started last Sept, and was finished just this June, so it will come in stages until I get to the current date, which may include a few videos...
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:01 PM   #14
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What was the difference between the xl250r and the xr250l?
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex250mike View Post
What was the difference between the xl250r and the xr250l?
10-15 hp (depending on what you read, book, historical, or 'net forums)


different bore/stroke, compression ratio, TWO carbs(dual-setup)
the XL250R is a short stroke 'rev' motor, and the XR250L is a long stroke..



But most simply, the XL250R is based off the 84-85 XR250R(short stroke)(dual carbs), and the XR250L is based off the 86-95 XR250R.
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