Advice on an RD 250 build

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by sprouty115, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Hi All,
    I need some help - about a two months ago I went looking for a first bike for my son. I found a clean '76 RD 250 with 6K miles. The story sounded good - 100% original with low miles, a clean title, and in running condition for $1,600. So I checked it out, and everything seemed perfect: It was super clean: no rust in the tank, rims were perfect, lights, gauges and signals worked, new fork seals, it even started on the second kick. I drove it around for a bit and it sounded and handled fine. We settled on $1,400 and I figured I had a keeper.

    My plan was to go through it over the winter and then give it to him as a present in the spring. So I started poking around and the first thing I did was compression test. Found both cylinders around 120. Based on what I read here that sounded slightly low so I figured I'd let a local shop go over the entire bike and at least than I'd have an idea where to focus my attention.

    They confirmed the compression readings, then pulled the exhaust to see if there was any scoring on the pistons (there was a little) so they started looking deeper. Got a call today: broken stator, bent crank, etc. They said they could do the work but it's essentially a full rebuild and probably close to $2K.

    So my question to you guys who've been down this road: is it worth it? Does that price seem reasonable? Are there any other options?

    A bit more info: I'm pretty set on having an early RD for him (it was my first road bike and I have a real soft spot for them) also I'm pretty mechanically inclined, but I'm just a bit busy, so depending on how difficult this rebuild is maybe I could do it myself? Thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated and don't hold back, I can take it...

    Thanks,
    Stephen
    #1
  2. spo123

    spo123 Man About Town

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    $2,000 for the motor is VERY HIGH!
    #2
  3. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Just to be clear: the $2K is for the entire motor rebuild: new crank, rods, bearings, pistons, seals, re-bore, the stator, etc. Also pulling it from the frame and re-installing it.

    So if that is high, any recommendations on where to send it would be welcome as well.
    #3
  4. JonnyCash

    JonnyCash turd polisher

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    Hello,
    2k for a full engine rebuild, including taking it out and reinstalling it in the bike is actually pretty fair, I'd say. It cost me quite a bit less than that on my RD350, but I did everything except the press work on the crank, and the boring myself. While there's nothing very hard about any of it, it is a lot of work. If you want to give the bike to your son, and have it be a learn to ride experience, and not a how to work on bikes experience, it would probably be a good choice.

    If it were me, I'd be on the lookout for a ratty RD that runs, and swap that engine into it. They go cheap, but still, you'd have a 40 YO engine in there. I've got a very nice, very modified RD350 that will be up for sale soon. The bottom end, I rebuilt about 2000 miles ago, and the top end had about 500 miles on it. Why am I selling it? I picked up an old Guzzi that has a long list of needs.

    Is your bike really a 76? In the states, there was no RD250 in 76, just a 400. There was a 250 from 73-75. 74's were brown, 75's white, I don't remember what the 73's were.
    #4
  5. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Thanks Johnny. First off, yes it is a '75, it's white with red tank stripes. I looked at a
    lot
    of RD's, must have gotten the year mixed up. Second, I also already have lead on an engine but it sounds trashed and like you say even if it runs it's still 40 years old and a gamble. It seems there are bikes and engines around but nothing in great shape, but I'll definitely keep looking.

    And...If it's as much work as you say, I probably don't have time to get it done before spring if I do it myself.

    My intention was for this to be a nice stock bike that I went through so he didn't get stranded somewhere and that he could customize himself. I'm still leaning in that direction, but if you want to send me some info on yours once you decide to sell, I'd be happy to consider it.

    -stephen
    #5
  6. LasseNC

    LasseNC XSessive!

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    Replace stator, if you think it ran fine, then just keep riding it. When/If it breaks. replace it. You don't know if he will like the bike. If he does, then throw money at it.
    #6
  7. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Well it looks like the engine I had a line on turned out to be a dead end. It was originally listed as coming out of a running bike but when I started asking questions it's suddenly seized. So now I have a crank and stator from someone else I'm looking at for $120. Just need to ask some more questions. If it turns out the used crank/stator is decent then I'll see what the new bill would be and make a decision then.


    Will need to think hard about this. I would really love to give him this bike but it can't be a time-bomb. Thanks.
    #7
  8. pdxjim

    pdxjim Two Stroke Terror

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    Broken stator? Bent crank? On a running bike?

    Sounds fishy to me. Get a second opinon.
    #8
  9. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    I'm pretty sure they're trustworthy but I'll be heading back down to see the bike this week. Just trying to sort out my options and get as educated as possible before I go down.
    #9
  10. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    2k is crazy money. typical labor on a 2t 2 cyl is about $400 + parts.
    #10
  11. whisperquiet

    whisperquiet Been here awhile

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  12. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Thanks for the link. Also looking at the 2strokeworld forums. There are some posts by Lyn Garland about cost, so I have some more data and I make sure of what the shop is planning on doing I'll have an idea if the cost is reasonable.

    Sort of leaning towards taking a gamble with the used crank to try to minimize the cost as LasseNC suggested and see if he likes it.
    #12
  13. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    still don't know what bent crank means. a crank rebuild with new rods and all bearings is another $400-500. that's assuming your 'bent' crank is completely bad.

    so that's about $900-$1000 for a bottom end rebuilt if you send it out.. that's assuming the trans is good.

    you could do it yourself for about $300-$400 in parts and whatever the crank rebuild would cost if you supplied the parts - starts at about $100 depending on what you want done/who you have do it...

    or you could spend 2k to fix your running bike.
    #13
  14. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    I definitely hear you, it's a lot of money. I'm headed down this week to see exactly what's going on in-person. Should know more in a day or two. Just remember though the $2k is for top and bottom plus pulling and reinstalling the engine. I'll repost again when I sort it out a bit more. Thanks, appreciate your input.
    #14
  15. Shocktower

    Shocktower Long timer

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    That is very high, and if the bike runs, I would question the shops Rep, here's another link for some great help 2stroke world has tons of help and parts for them bike's
    #15
  16. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    If the bike runs well, I don't understand why it has a bent crank. Without taking the engine apart, I'm not even sure how you diagnose a bent crank.

    Are the folks working on your bike old-bike/two-stroke specialists? Do you really think they know what they're doing? My experience is that it is very hard to find mechanics who know their way around old bikes. And if you're really planning on riding a 40-yo antique, you need to ante up the time/effort to do most of the maintenance/repair work yourself. If you don't have the time, you (or in this case your son) would be much better off riding something more current.

    Finally, don't take this too harshly, but are you sure you're not letting your nostalgia and desire for an old RD cloud your judgment about a good first bike for you son? Is it HIS dream to ride an old RD? Unless he shares your desire to want to wrench and ride an antique (in that order), I think he'd be much better served with something a little more current that is reliable (and uses a lot less gas). Not to mention has modern suspension and brakes.

    Don't take this as a criticism of old RD's. They're ultra cool. But riding one as an every day bike is a labor of love and not terribly practical.

    - Mark
    #16
  17. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    my guess is the stator end of the crank some wobble. can't be very much or it would be blowing seals and possibly vibrating - this could also be why the stator is not working... or it could be a spun crank, but you'd feel that one too.. it's all speculation without seeing it.


    you can pull that motor in under an hour. remove tank, exhaust, carbs, unplug stator and pull the motor mounts. it's not rocket science.

    someone with experience could pull it, rebuild it, and reinstall it in under 4 hours labor. of course there's some time involved redoing the crank and reboring, but those are flat rate jobs. if the motor was running, there's probably nothing wrong with the stator. might need charge coil replaced or maybe some other part of the charging system has an issue? most guys flat rate the whole deal, because they're faster than shop rate at rebuilding, and the uninitiated think it's some massive undertaking that takes serious time (which it doesn't).
    #17
  18. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    Actually I'm pretty sure I'm completely letting my nostalgia of old bikes cloud my judgement, but that's a whole different story...

    Anyway, I won't know more until I get down there and see for myself. Trying to make that happen today.
    #18
  19. Shocktower

    Shocktower Long timer

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    This happens :rofl
    #19
  20. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Then I'd suggest getting the RD for yourself and getting an SV650 for your son.

    - Mark
    #20