1991 Honda XR600R Resto and Build-up

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by empiredownhc, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. empiredownhc

    empiredownhc Adventurer

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    1991 Honda XR600R Resto and Build-up
    by Scott

    [Mods or Admins you can move this if needed if there is a specific build up thread somewhere!?]

    G’day all,

    Bit of history on my build-up:

    I began my search for a new bike once I had sold the Suzuki GSXR750 I had. While that was a great machine, it was not fit for the purposes I had given it. I needed a bike that I could commute on, ride on weekends or do some trips on to get out of the city and suburbs. The zook had some of those covered, yet it was aggressive and certainly bought on an aggressive riding style (which got me in trouble on a few occasions). I’ve already got an excellent off road bike; a road registered two stroke enduro machine….however that was never going to fit the bill of a 60km return commute each day.

    Myself and some mates had also done a large trip around Australia in 2012 in 4WDs, and as great as that was, we’d spent most of the time talking about how good it would have been to be on a bike. So a goal was set, and that was to do a similar trip on a dirt bike at some stage, and include the areas we never got to cover in the cars. That included the central deserts, and Cape York – both of those places required dedicated, well set up and well planned trips of their own.

    These ideas added to the requirements of my new motorcycle. It needed to be tough. It needed to be reliable. It needed to be simple. It needed to be capable. It needed to be affordable!

    My early days of riding off-road bikes were on an ’81 XL185. It was my first real full size bike and I learnt the use of a clutch and gears it really gave me a great introduction. My next few bikes were more competition oriented (as most teenagers want) which let me gain some valuable off road skills. From there I became interested in enduro and trail riding more, and I’ll be forever grateful to my father who purchased a brand new XR250 for us. That bike took me to more places over the next 3 years than I could have ever dreamed of. I got my bike licence on it, I rode it to work, travelled to mates places, did countless trips and weekends in the mountains with it, and it truly taught me how to ride.

    Owning the XR250 led me to chase down accessories; I found Ballard’s off-road. A catalogue of parts that I would spend hours dreaming of having! I followed the Ballard’s off-road team through the mid to late 90’s where they raced many versions of XRs in many competitions, often winning against more exotic machines. I loved the idea of the underdog winning. I set out to prove to my own mates on their 125 and 250 motocross machines that a trail bike XR250 could do whatever they did…..and often better! It was during those days where I saw Glenn Bells thumper nats winning XR600/630 with the alloy tank…absolute drool material right there, especially when I saw it in the flesh hanging above the entrance to the Ballard’s store in Penrith.

    Again, days spent on the 250 took me to some riding parks…where I have a lasting memory of two blokes on XR600’s with big, shiny Staintune’s racing around the grass track. I sat and watched…and more importantly listened. It was the sound that really captured my motorcycling soul that day. The sound of those bikes truly expressed the feeling of having (at the time) so much power underneath you, so much earth moving torque. The memories of trenches being carved into the corners and long, solid trails of roost being shot from the rear wheel still brings a smile to my face to this day. I knew one day I would have one.

    That brings us to 2013, and after a fair while of ummming and ahhhing, I decided an XR600 was to be the bike I buy, fix, ride, and enjoy for the next few years. I have two mates with DR650’s who enjoy them, and briefly looked at KLR’s, however I felt that the time would come where I hit the dirt and I’d forget I was on a big lump of a bike and try and rail it like my 300 two stroke, and I felt that a DR or KLR wouldn’t cope too well with that.

    Pro’s of the XR600:
    • Many second hand bikes on the market
    • Same design since 91 (disc brake models)
    • Air Cooled simplicity
    • Steel Frame – ease of repair
    • Easy to source spares – locally and from the U.S
    • Proven history of reliability and off road capability
    • Higher ground clearance than KLR / DR
    • Doesn’t do anything perfectly, but does everything decently

    July this year saw a 91 XR600 advertised fairly locally for what I thought was a fair price. I looked and thought long and hard, but hesitated and never contacted the seller. A day later, the ad was removed and I kicked myself for not getting onto it. Nevertheless, another one should come along I thought to myself. It just wasn’t meant to be.

    No more than a week later, there I was still searching, scouring the online ads during work breaks and what do I see? That same old 91, re-advertised! Hang on a second; I thought that was a decent buy before….he’s dropped $300 on the price. I knew I had to definitely get onto it this time so no time was spared and I was out looking at the machine the next day. A day later it was in my driveway for less money again. I was happy.

    It didn’t take long before the ideas came. Do I fix-er-up and just ride it? Do I do a full resto? Do I customise it? Do I do a bit of all of those? Anyway, with some time and money it would slowly evolve, and it during that time it gave me a chance to persuade that mate who came on our 4WD trip to also get his hands on a 600R. It was happening!

    Some space was cleared in the small back shed and my father and I began to decide what to do. The coming weeks and months saw lots of ebaying, online purchases and chasing up of some fabricating and local coating services.

    I’ve put together a collection of photos below of the build to date with some descriptions:

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    As it stood when I purchased it

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    Partially Stripped for degreasing before pulling it totally apart.

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    Beginning the disassembly

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    This hadn’t been taken out for quite a while!

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    Engine out

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    Ready for inspection

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    It’d had a ‘recent’ rebuild according to the past owner. Evidence of the new gaskets is there, and the main drive shaft looks in good nick with no rounding of the teeth.

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    Swingarm was seized! Had not been out in a VERY long time!

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    With the swinger out it was time to clean up the linkages to fit the new bearings.

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    The shock seemed in fair condition, but will be getting a freshen up at Teknik along with the forks.

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    Like I said, I have a thing for the Staintune’s, so I've got to try and bring this one back to life!

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    Sandblasting all the small bits.

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    The dirty and clean boxes of bits.

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    Frames repairs, and typical kickstarter tab issues.

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    Giving the sub-frame some beef.

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    Thinking of some artistic heat shield options???

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    Cleaning up some well-worn lower fork legs.

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    The lower steering head bearing race didn’t want to come off. Some heat and a bit more persuasion from the FBH (F’n Big Hammer) helped.

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    The smaller sandblasted bits now painted, and clear coated.

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    I didn’t get this powder coated as it needed some work to straighten it back out and flatten the rear tabs out. But a sandblast at home and a few coats of white enamel and it came up quite nice.

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    Frame is back from powder coaters and is looking unreal.

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    XR’s only in the states haven’t had them in stock for 3 months now….I found this on eBay. Hopefully it’s as good. Should complement the trick oil cooler the inmate GSMark sorted out for me.

    More progress to be made over the coming weeks…updates to follow.
    Cheers,
    Scott.
    #1
  2. philth

    philth philth

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    well done legend!
    #2
  3. farcall

    farcall Bike-a-holic

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    I'm sure the mods will leave it here. There's been too much crap in the Oz forum lately... this thread is a breath of fresh air.

    Well done on the resto Scott. :clap

    Look forward to future posts. :thumb
    #3
  4. wairau

    wairau south pacific vagrant

    Joined:
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    bay of plenty, nz
    love this sort of stuff. i'm still at the which bike? stage.

    great reading :clap
    #4
  5. ZEmann

    ZEmann want to be riding

    Joined:
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    659
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    Arizona
    XR's only had the t stats I ordered one last month and it was defective my new one is supposed to Be in the mail

    I think your money ahead
    #5
  6. TB650

    TB650 Would be Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    810
    Location:
    Blue Mountains, Australia
    Isn't that true :clap


    Awesome job Scott, rode and raced a few 600's over the years, legend bikes. Can't wait for the build to continue. When you drop your forks etc of at Tekniks speak with Nick he knows them inside out and his building his own 600 at the moment


    TB
    #6
  7. troy safari carpente

    troy safari carpente Team f5ool

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    Beautiful job so far! :clap

    This one... and Fogo's KLX 700 project, are two favorites right now. :clap
    #7
  8. Hillbilly501

    Hillbilly501 Ultra n00b

    Joined:
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    Drinking from the firehose in Brisbane, Australia
    nek minnit...

    i love build threads. Have fun with it!
    #8
  9. veetwo _tls

    veetwo _tls RENOVATIO:

    Joined:
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    1,854
    Location:
    FNQLD innisfail/SOUTH OZ murray bridge
    if you want a electric leg the NX650 side case & starter fit as well as the flywheel jeff ballard done these mods to his xr630rn safari bike , also oil pump mod something about swapping over the oil dowels ? which gives a better oil flow , toss the auto decomp you don't need it - if it starts getting hard to start its time reset valve clearance :wink:



    what i done to mine back when i had it.

    MODS:

    HONDA XR630RN 1992:

    ballard supplyed -630Hi-comp je piston , 2 x base gaskets for running pump fuel , hrd valve kit , corrillo rod , mild cam , head tidy'd up , oil pump mod , keihn 40mm flat slide , duel hella 10" 200w , 200w stator & custom heavy duty loom done by beta bikes , accerbis 24ltr tank , castex race development o/size stainless headers , barret carbon muffler , k&n , eibach shock , eibach fork springs , custom seat (center filled) & cover , mach cycle computer , renthal twin walls & grips , chain gang sprockets , chain gang disc's , did x-ring gold ,
    home made: crank case oil/air seperator breather , shark fin , checker alloy bash plate , alloy r/brake res-guard , light guard/wind deflector & oil cooler.



    .
    #9
  10. philth

    philth philth

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    can i put in a vote to move this back to the oz forum
    this looks like an awesome thread and I'm keen to see where it goes but i'll never find it again in here
    #10
  11. wairau

    wairau south pacific vagrant

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    bay of plenty, nz
    already been mentioned to the mods phil, i'm keen too. fingers crossed
    #11
  12. Kenno

    Kenno Been here awhile

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    800
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    CAIRNS - AUSTRALIA
    Dedication and nice work Scott.

    Subscribed.
    #12
  13. Ed_in_miami

    Ed_in_miami Cubicle Traveler

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    Keep it coming!!

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. empiredownhc

    empiredownhc Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    44
    Location:
    Sydney, AUS
    Thanks for all the great feedback everyone.

    Philth, glad you like it mate. Those motorbikin' dvds are half my reason to want to get out amongst it.

    I'd be keen to hear a bit more about this! I've heard of it being done before. It might begin to make what started out as a simple build WAY more complicated though! I'd be very interested to see any photo's of that setup you had veetwo _tls, it sounds pretty wild.

    TB, I'm hopefully picking the forks and shock up this week. Nick wasn't around when I dropped them off so I'll have to try and catch him this time around for a chat. One of the boys there did mention they could pull another 7mm travel out of the shock for me, equating to approx. 20mm extra travel at the axle.

    One thing I am keen to research a bit more is a kush type rear hub. I have an article saved away here on the computer along with lots of other XR info that I've been saving away. Its the bloke who does the build up of the XR650L in 2008 for the "Lost On" website. Teknik had some involvment as did Ballards. It mentions the use of an NX650 rear hub. I haven't seen any on eBay, and I'm thinking that it would be quite a rare part?

    Cheers again,

    Scott.
    #14
  15. Kenno

    Kenno Been here awhile

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    800
    Location:
    CAIRNS - AUSTRALIA
    One thing I am keen to research a bit more is a kush type rear hub. I have an article saved away here on the computer along with lots of other XR info that I've been saving away. Its the bloke who does the build up of the XR650L in 2008 for the "Lost On" website. Teknik had some involvment as did Ballards. It mentions the use of an NX650 rear hub. I haven't seen any on eBay, and I'm thinking that it would be quite a rare part?

    Cheers again,

    Scott.[/QUOTE]

    Hey Scott, RAD make a cush hub http://www.radmfg.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=RADH-EQ-1R
    Thinking I'll put one in my main 650L after having deeply grooved the clutch hub slides on the ride to WA and back, I reckon it'll pay for itself over a few sprockets, chains and tyres.
    That whipping inside the transmission can't be good, I wore D606's to reduce it but it got bad again once the knobs started wearing down.
    #15
  16. wiggywildwildwest

    wiggywildwildwest cranky bugger

    Joined:
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    Blackwater, QLD, Australia.
    it might pay to not be too hasty with removing the auto decomp. one of its functions is to help prevent kickback. people used to blame the auto decomp for their tendency to cough and stall at low speed. it seems poor carb design was more the culprit. ymmv i suppose.
    #16
  17. empiredownhc

    empiredownhc Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Sydney, AUS
    Kenno, thanks for the link to the RAD gear....its nice but geez its pricey. That one might be going on the wish list for later down the track.

    Wiggy, I haven't thought about removing the decomp at all. I'll run it as it is for now and see how she goes.

    Again, thanks for all the feedback fella’s, it’s very encouraging. Keep in mind I don’t have the time, skill, knowledge or budget for a full on restoration. We’re just a backyard team tidying up this old girl. I have to mention my old man is giving me some great help in this build; another set of hands and another point of view is really helping me out. Not to mention the use of the shed space and collection of tools I otherwise don’t have. What a legend!

    Anyway, here’s some progress we made this weekend.

    So after getting the frame back from powder coaters (who did a very good job and I would recommend them) we could really hook in.

    I knew after reading a few older posts in the 600/650L threads that I’d need to flush the frame of any sandblasting and coating debris.

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    I began by plugging up the frames oil storage, and ran about 250ml of kerosene into it. I let it sit a few minutes then gave it a good shake up, then let drain into a bucket. I repeated this around 3 times with the frame up right, then another 3 times with the frame upside down so the oil ‘tank’ was at the lowest point. I flushed thoroughly with water, then one last fill of kerosene to get rid of any water. I used compressed air to blast out any leftover liquids and let dry in the sun for a couple of hours.

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    You can see here the amount of crap that came out on the first and second flushes. Bit of a worry, but it came clean in the end.

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    Next was cleaning up the swing arm. I didn’t get an overall before shot, but this old girls through the wars. There’s some fairly bad grooves from letting the chain slipper wear though, in fact the chain slipper on it when I bought the bike was an offcut section of plastic.

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    Here you can see condition before and after.

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    It then got masked up and prepped for paint. I opted for painting the swinger over powder coating as I wasn’t sure on the tolerances for bearings etc. Perhaps I’ll see how the paint holds up and if not might look at coating this at a later stage.

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    After Paint, while my Dad worked on cleaning up the engine.

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    Even after several goes at degreasing and scrubbing she still looked a bit sad. I had read on here a few guys have gone down the path of acid washing and also a full soda or sand blast. I figured she’s all rebuilt and mechanically fine, I didn’t want to go tearing her down too much. A solid clean-up and fresh coat of paint should do the trick for now.
    Remember, I’m doing all of this on a bit of a budget. It’s not a full on resto – just a backyard resto!

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    So once we masked up bits and pieces, into the custom spray booth it went (read; garden shed) and several coats of high temp aluminium finish engine enamel went on. A bit ‘silvery’ but generally much tidier!

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    While we waited for the engine to dry we set to work on installing the new steering head bearings and the triple clamps.

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    Then all the new swingarm bearings were loaded with grease and the swinger was installed.

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    The brakes need some real work. I’ve blasted them for now, but they’ll need a full overhaul. The rear piston is basically hanging out, and the seal is visible, and torn.

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    With the blasting cabinet running, we took the opportunity to clean up the remainder of the misc. bolts and brackets.

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    While we waited for some paint to dry, we set about cleaning out all of the threads on the powdercoated frame. While the powdercoating place did a good job, they did miss two or three threads.

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    With the engine dry and bolts all sorted we set about lifting the engine into the frame (very carefully). We masked the frame off, and laid cardboard on the frame rails and on the front down tube to prevent scratching. A few goes, a bit of sweat, and just a few swear words….and it went it in! Stoked!
    We took the chance to step back and admire…and threw in the recently revived and polished Staintune headers for a photo!

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    The final work last night was looking at tidying up some of the wiring. The heatproof casing had perished. We’re looking at using some high pressure fuel line as a casing. Thoughts?

    No updates from Teknik on the suspension yet...hopefully this week.

    More updates again soon. Cheers!
    #17
  18. Kenno

    Kenno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    800
    Location:
    CAIRNS - AUSTRALIA
    Just noticed this mod in your photo, it is not a standard item but is something I would do to guarantee no cam chain skip should the tensioner miss a grab under racing conditions.
    I've never seen it done before.

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. empiredownhc

    empiredownhc Adventurer

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    Sydney, AUS
    Kenno,

    Not sure what you mean there. That bolt you point out appears 'factory'?
    Does your 600 not have it?

    Scott.
    #19
  20. Kenno

    Kenno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    800
    Location:
    CAIRNS - AUSTRALIA
    Hi Scott,

    It's not factory and not part of the HRC mods either and none of my 4 XR's have it.
    I googled it and found that some folks have done it to stop the cam chain skipping teeth when the chain gets worn and the tensioner fails.
    You would need to make sure it is backed off in order to remove and replace your cam in future.
    I would be suspicious about the cam chain wear because of the mod before your big trip, maybe ask the previous owner if he did it to take up slack and if he did it then throw a new cam chain in there.
    When you get to the cam chain point I have some photo's to show you how to see if your chain is worn or good without removal but you would need the valve cover off.

    Cheers
    #20