Bringing an XR600 back to it's former glory

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Blakebird, May 16, 2008.

  1. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    18,786
    Location:
    Parker, CO
    Back in January, I found a '92 XR600R for $1350, and it was all there and straight, didn't puff smoke, ran strong.

    Looked like a good cleaner upper. :nod

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    I bought the bike knowing it would sit for a month or two while I did a couple of trips in the planning on the '87 KLR, and there was no time to get the XR ready that quickly.


    I ordered parts, and then came the day in March when I could start tearing the bike apart to see if it was a cleaner-upper or a fixer-upper.

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    So far, mostly just dirt everywhere. No leaky or misty spots on the motor, and the carb was not grungy. Encouraging. :nod

    I removed the stator and sent it off to Baja Designs for a 250w rewind, at the same time I ordered a d/s kit

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    Lots of unused pole space

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    The previous owner gave me a couple of "extras"...one was a new D752 rear, and the other was a fresh piece of foam for the seat. I wasn't wild about the Ceet cover on the bike either.

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    Before I got too far in the teardown (and it wouldn't roll anymore :lol3 ), I needed to haul it somewhere for a VIN verification so I could get the plates paperwork underway.

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    Then I put it on the Sears stand and started taking crap off.

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    I got the bike down to frame and motor, and removed the wiring harness. Cleaned up connections, cleaned and touch-sanded the frame.
    Put a couple coats of flat white primer and three coats of gloss white.

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    I brought the forks and shock to Neil Hores (Hitchcock Industries).
    It sat like this until the shock could go back in, it really is the center of the universe here :norton I repainted the sidestand and top triple black.
    When the stator was sent back, I installed it and wired in the harness.

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    The front and rear wheel bearings needed replacing, so I took care of that at Mountain Eagle's DAG wrench day.
    After getting the bearings in, someone noticed I had a broken spoke - and then someone said "hey, we're not far from Woody's..." and off I went for a new spoke.
    On the truing stand, the rear rim was bent in four places enough to need fixing, and there was a crack on the drive side, right at the join weld. My XR400 wheels cracked there too, I had them welded.
    This wheel would need a fair amount of cash thrown at it to be servicable, and I'd still have a wheel of dubious toughness. I had Chris order a RAD black anodized billet hub, to be laced to a black Excel rim.
    The front was ok, but did need truing and a spoke or three.

    I kept myself busy with things like cleaning up the hackjob someone did on the airbox. I dremeled it smooth, and fastened a screen to cover the gaping maw they cut in the top. The wires gotta sit somewhere :scratch

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    I removed the carb and put in an XR's Only billet choke plate. The stock choke plate has been known to come apart and get sucked in. That's a $24 no-brainer just 'cause I'm the superstitious type :deal :lol3

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    The billet piece.

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    While the suspension was away, I got a couple of calls. The first one telling me the lower fork leg had taken a big rock hit once, and it had deformed the fork tube by 1mm or so, enough to mess up the bushings trying to slide unimpeded.

    The next call was to tell me the shock body was showing early signs of wear. The Eibach springs for the fork and shock had arrived, so changing paths (like buying an Ohlins or something) didn't make any sense - he sent the shock body off to be hard anodized.

    Then one day the phone rang, the shock was done. I could start putting it together again :clap

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    When I was putting on the shark fin, I discovered that the rear tab on the swingarm for it was broken off. Just a little weld puddle remained.
    The little 'surprises' were beginning to add up. The swingarm tab, the fork leg, the shock body....there would be more.
    #1
  2. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    18,786
    Location:
    Parker, CO
    Zerks are good to have.

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    It started coming together, little by little.

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    I knew the turn signals would interfere with the big lobes on the 6 gallon Acerbis.

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    ....so I moved them.
    Parts: from the Simpson Strong-Tie catalog :lol3
    A beefy framing strap bent and drilled as needed.

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    This will need further trimming.

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    The wiring was cleaned up quite a bit, and a few old crusty connectors replaced.

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    I took the seat to an upholsterer up in north Denver - Colorado Seat Treat. The plan was to use a center section of black gripper, and red gripper sides.
    The black was on back order :bluduh

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    When the black vinyl was still another three weeks out, I said "go ahead and do it all red".

    When I went to pick it up, he'd done the accent stripe on his own, and I was very pleased with how it looked on the bike.

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    The finishing touches were the rear turn signals, which I didn't want to locate holes for until the seat was back....and the grips, barkbusters, chain, etc. The rear turn signals slowed me down a bit, the sides of the fender were at an angle and they pointed up. Wasn't wild about how that looked. That means yet another trip to Lowe's or Home Depot.
    I got some nylon spacers, took the Dremel to 'em....and presto, flat signals.

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    The Acerbis tank has two petcocks, so I put an inline filter on each side before the tee. Neat ones with a 90* angle.

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    This side is the one I redid - from the carb inlet to the tee. Was a little tight and didn't like the near-kink look there.

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    ....and today, it leans under it's own power :D
    First time off the stand in a few weeks.

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    Put in a new oil filter and fresh oil, put a few gallons of gas in to see if there were any leaks. Too many IMS experiences not to be a little gunshy about leaky petcocks, but Acerbis has their poop in a group....gas flowed thru the lines, all was well with the world.

    Cut the new RK XSO x-ring chain down to 110 links and installed it.

    Tomorrow I'll fire it up (hopefully in less than 8,300 kicks) and see what needs adjusting.

    There isn't much that wasn't replaced, painted, or somehow cleaned up - it's been a great deal of fun, with those little surprises thrown in to keep it real.

    I thought about listing all the parts, but they're mostly there to see....
    MSR shifter, IMS pegs, Moose Flex bars on TAG mounts. Fredette chain guide, Moose (I think) sharkfin. And a whole lotta zip-ties... :D I replaced the steering head bearings and races, and got another stem off ebay with threads in better shape.

    I wanted it to be as quiet as it could be, and it came with an aftermarket (loud) Cobra - so no stock pipe to go back to. An FMF Q2 with a Powerbomb header to scrape a couple more db off.
    #2
  3. AUS CRUZER

    AUS CRUZER Lets Cruz

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,409
    Location:
    Geelong
    Well done,they are worth keeping alive.
    #3
  4. logging road rider

    logging road rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    126
    F'n sweet!
    #4
  5. GodSilla

    GodSilla I did that.

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    8,743
    Location:
    Downtown S.E. NSW
    Greetings Brother Blakebird.

    While I am at work and can't see the piccies (they filter stuff that might make us excited) the writeup is making me salivate to get home and see for myself.

    I did a similar effort 12 months ago on my '96 XR600, I spent basically the market value of the bike on a fresh top end, oil cooler, frame straightening, full staintune exhaust, etc. and I don't regret a single cent of it. Way cheaper than an upgrade, and the upgrades available don't come close in my book (apart from an XR650R).

    I am a self-confessed XR tragic, I love my XR600, and for good reason.
    I hope yours treats you as well as mine has treated me. It's just the best thing to ride.:D
    #5
  6. Cumbacheech

    Cumbacheech XRated

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    827
    Location:
    Bolton, ON
    Great job and great write up.

    Enjoy the new Toy!!


    Cumbacheech
    #6
  7. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Parker, CO
    XR's are great. This is my second XR600, the first was an '88 I had when I lived in Las Vegas, and it was such a great desert sled. My first was an '82 XR500R, then the '88 600, then a 2001 XR650R when I moved here 8 yrs ago. A couple years ago I had an XR400R, which was a great trailbike but suffered on long road sections keeping a decent pace (took it to Copper Canyon, rode over 1,000 miles from El Paso and back, and most was paved).

    In between all the XR's was an LC4, 300 EXC, 520 MXC, DR650, KDX220R w/ Fredette motor, KLR....kept going from great dirt bike to great dualsport. I figured a 600 would be the best combination of can-do in the dirt, with comfy-couch-for-an-oldguy on the next trip to Baja or Copper (or WestFest...which has seen me on a DR650 and an '87 KLR)

    And like you, there's enough $$ invested to make it a keeper by virtue of how much I'd lose if I ever sold it :lol3 The running joke is that I now have a $4700 example of a $2200 bike.
    #7
  8. Eurobiker

    Eurobiker Vintage Cat Herder

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,051
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Slacker. :poser Seriously, looks great. I'm pissed that she's purdier than mine, though. :bluduh

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    #8
  9. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Can't wait to see it in person, Blake. What a great job. :thumb
    #9
  10. slackmeyer

    slackmeyer Don't mean sheeit. .

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,626
    Location:
    Berzerkeley, CA
    Nice job. I've just adopted a friend's 1990 xr600, to do a little work on it and put on some miles.

    What kind of brake/tail light is that on there? I need something with a license plate light and better visibility.
    #10
  11. Lomax

    Lomax Nanu-Nanu Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Westminster Colorado
    Fantastic Job Blake. You have a real winner there.

    To bad it looks like crap. :lol3 (inside joke for everyone BTW:)

    Hope to see it tomorrow.

    Cheers.
    Marc
    #11
  12. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Parker, CO
    The last couple of things to do this morning were to put on the skid plate, and my front fender bag.

    I was having problems positioning one of the brackets for the skid plate. Had to tap it in there between the engine nut lug and the frame rail.

    Looks like it could have used a skid plate a while ago :bluduh

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    I've had a few fender bags flee the interview... even after notching the fender for the strap hooks, so now I run a strap thru a slot I put on each side. Haven't lost a bag since. :nod



    Beautiful day to roll it outside for a picture.

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    It's an Acerbis dual sport light, and it came with the Baja Designs kit. If you have an XR style fender, it's perfect. If you use an MX fender (straight), they have a different one w/ lo-profile LED's.
    And of course, you can get them anywhere - you don't have to buy a BD kit.
    #12
  13. Flood

    Flood F5lood.

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,161
    Location:
    Austria
    That's a beauty!

    People that care for the good ol' XR can't be bad.
    #13
  14. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    Location:
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    :ddog

    Well? Kick 'er over, already!!!
    #14
  15. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Very cool resto! Where did you get the fuel filters? I'd like to add filtering to my DR650....
    #15
  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Tampa
    That looks great:clap:clap
    #16
  17. Big Red One

    Big Red One If yer gonna be one...

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    367
    Location:
    Helena, Montana
    Yours is MUCH purtier than mine;

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    I'd sure like to do lots of the stuff you did - thanks for the inspiration!
    #17
  18. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

    Joined:
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    Rocky Mtn ATV, when you dig thru the menus at fuel filters, it's a straight thru one until you click on "large". $3.75 ea.

    http://www.rockymountainatv.com/viewLargerImage.do?stockId=117166&navType=type#OtherImages

    I guess trying to get ready for tomorrow's long ride was a bit ambitious.
    It never showed a sign of spark, so I'll dig in over the next few days and check the plug, the spark, some connections - I checked everything pretty well putting it back together, so we'll see how I am at this troubleshooting stuff :bluduh

    I had too many other things going today to give if full shrift - getting the other bike ready for a two-up trip in a couple weeks, and taking control of our fast growing lawn (Spring has sprung)

    Off to go check the plug, the low fruit of potential problems.
    #18
  19. ironbrewer

    ironbrewer Hopefully Riding

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
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    4,026
    Location:
    Was in Colorado now in The Northwet, Washington
    Well it looks mighty purdy. I''m sure it will be easy to figure it out. Can't wait to see it up close and personal at FMF.
    #19
  20. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

    Joined:
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    Thanks Jim, and yes....the problem was extremely simple. Me. :lol3

    I went out and checked the plug - a little dark, but dry and looked fine if not a perfect tan.
    Better too fat than too lean.

    Put the plug back in, took off the seat to start quadruple-checking my connections.
    Reading the instructions....flipping thru to get to ..... hey, there. The main switch (signals, horn, kill, off/P/H, etc). "Bike will not start in this position"....and I hadn't even considered something to turn on. Thought it would start and run in any of the positions, they were just about the lights....

    wrong :huh

    Turned the switch to it's first position, and it frickin' fired first kick.

    I'm an idiot.....but I might take a chance on joining that long ride tomorrow. Should be interesting with a rocket surgeon like me on board. :D
    #20