My first thumper!! 1987 XL600R

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by rover215, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. rover215

    rover215 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    27
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    N. Portland
    I am buying a 1987 XL600R in 2 weeks (I put a deposit down) and feel really good about the bike and the price. That said, I'm no XL guru and would love to get some feedback from you folks.
    5,100 miles on the clock, recovered seat, new battery, and comes with a hardback Haynes manual, uninstalled/new Ricky stator, new aftermarket front signals, and gold anodized wheels mounted with knobbies. The front signals are bent a little but work and lenses are intact. The bikini fairing is busted off, and only has one broken mirror.
    The bike kicks over with solid compression, starts easily, and pulls HARD. I have to learn to ride and think differently for this bike- it's ALL torque so I found myself short shifting on my test ride. The front brake seems more than adequate, which surprised me at first but since it only weighs around 325lbs wet so it makes sense. The only issue is with the jetting (I think). The seller told me the bike was re-jetted for higher altitude by the original owner. I don't remember where it lived originally but it was the high plains of Oregon. I'm a Portland dweller and will be doing most of my riding around here (until my Alaska trip gels). The bike stalled several times on my test ride, but only when I came to a stop. It kicked back over easily and off I went but I think I'll be removing, cleaning, re-jetting, and maybe even rebuilding the carbs.
    Oh- the bike and extras came to $1,450 and I didn't offer less- it sounded like a fair deal, especially after riding it.

    So whattaya think? Good deal, fair deal, or meh- not so much?
    What are some of the more common issues I should know about? I plan on keeping one set of knobby wheels and fit new street rubber to the other set. I have no intentions of hopping-up power. I prefer keeping it simple and besides, I weigh 172lbs and am no thrill seeker. I'll be riding it around town but I'll be commuting 20min one way, 5 days/wk until I get my R75/5 in late March. I plan on an Alaska adventure with my buddy who will be riding a super-lux R1200RT next year. I want to fit a rack and other ADV goodies. Feel free to give me input, both pro and con. I really just want to know more about the bike and what options are available to me.

    http://s84.beta.photobucket.com/user/rover215/media/mybike2.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0
    #1
  2. ReferJohn

    ReferJohn 4th Gear pinned> you'll make it

    Joined:
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    Any PICS?














    :lurk
    #2
  3. rover215

    rover215 Adventurer

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    Nov 28, 2010
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    I tried to upload from Flickr and Photobucket but the upload icon doesn't seem to like the http://
    What do I need to do besides include a link?
    #3
  4. Fireball

    Fireball Ancient Astronaut Theorist

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    Bacon Double Hamburg NJ
    I love the Captain America years :clap

    good luck with it!
    #4
  5. dhally

    dhally Hammerhead

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    Sounds like a reasonable deal. Those bikes never die. The carb will be easy enough to tune up, might as well get all new rubber parts before you pull it apart. Thumpertalk should have a jetting database.

    If you're gettign a street bike anyhow, maybe two sets of wheels for the XRL is overkill? I have good luck with dual sport knobbies like a D606 or D908 or even the trials type MT43. Work OK on both street and dirt. Most of my riding is dry though.

    Here are the instructions for posting images:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=919


    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. rover215

    rover215 Adventurer

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    I'm wondering if I should have posted in the XL600 thread. I'm thinking of using Shinko 705 series tires but I'd like to hear what other XL folks think of them. I can't wait to get this thing! I have already made a list of goodies I want but it will take time. Anyone recommend a particular oil? I am going to change it and check the air filter as soon as I get it. If the stock air filter is fine, I'll keep it unless I hear a resounding support for an aftermarket upgrade. Again, going back to stock jetting.
    One more thing- the kickstand has a strange blue hue to it, midshaft. It looks like it was heated up at some time but I don't see any evidence of welding. It looks straight and hold the bike up but I just thought it looked weird. I'll get pics up in a couple weeks.
    #6
  7. rover215

    rover215 Adventurer

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    So a buddy of mine helped me (did most of the work, actually) rebuild the carbs. Removing them was pretty straight forward except for the intake boots- we ended up removing the manifold altogether. He had a Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner and mixed up some dilute Simple Green/water mix. That stuff and the ultrasonic thing did a nice job. Re-installation was pretty easy. After reconnecting the cables (incorrectly at first) and many kicks with starter spray, it finally started.
    However, it didn't seem to like the choke so I ended up kicking it maybe more than I needed to. Once running I noticed the throttle was a little sticky and would stay open until I moved it shut. Otherwise, it would stay open and rev. The return cable seemed not to be working as well as before. Still, after warming it up it ran great. A week later, me and my buddy checked the routing of the cables and shot some WD-40 into the throttle housing, thinking it would loosen them up. Turns out the cables were routed a little wonky so we got them straightened out. The cables seemed to feel better but after putting everything back it didn't change anything. I ordered a new push and pull cable in hopes that will remedy things. But I'm thinking the cables probably don't need replacing (only 5,100 miles) but they were cheap so no hardship if they don't improve things. What have I missed?
    #7
  8. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Flamed out

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    Several years back when I was still on an XL600R I got into a jetting thread over on Thumpertalk that was pretty good info.

    http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/172305-xl600r-jetting/

    If I had to guess, I would say you guys either didn't get something as clean as you think or you still don't have it put together correctly. Make sure you got that dual carb linkage back together right and got the two cables adjusted correctly. Maybe disconnect the return and cable to see if it works any better.
    #8
  9. Carter Pewterschmidt

    Carter Pewterschmidt Long timer

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  10. rover215

    rover215 Adventurer

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    Nov 28, 2010
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    N. Portland
    I should mention we didn't separate the carbs from each other. The linkage joining the two remained intact. And dammit- we didn't save the paper that had the jet sizes from the carbs. I did find out that the original owner lived at 3,500' so I doubt he'd re-jet. It does run great here in Portland. I'll remove the pull cable next weekend to see if it affects the return but I prefer having it.
    Also, my buddy told me that it's okay to lube older cables but cables today are of the lube-less type. I know the cables don't have many miles on them but couldn't they still dry up or corrode? The replacements are Motion Pro, btw.
    #10
  11. Claytonroy

    Claytonroy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
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    Location:
    Oregon
    Great bike! I love the 600R

    Certainly the cables being 20+ years old will affect their performance. But I suspect the main reason is that dusty East Oregon conditions are hard on cable systems! Add in a few hundred cycles of hot/ cold, ridden hard in the dust, or MUD....then hosed off. Despite what the odometer says, those cables are toast. Lubing them won't hurt at this point but sometimes it can create a slurry of gunk inside the housing and make it worse.

    FWIW I've had good luck w/ Motion Pro cables and Shinko tires!

    Honda RFVC's singles can suffer from lubrication starvation up top (the rockers and cam especially) so always use 20W/ 50 oil and synthetic if possible and NEVER run it low on oil. If it's in good health, it shouldn't use oil unless you're doing long mileage at high speeds, like on the highway, etc. If the transmission starts to feel "notchy" when you're riding it, be sure to check and/or change the oil.

    Good luck with your 600R

    :ricky
    #11
  12. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Flamed out

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    Since you are already shopping Motion Pro, you want a can of cable lube and one of these:

    [​IMG]


    I bought mine sometime back in the 80's. There aren't many tools this cheap that work so well and will outlive you.
    #12
  13. brokeagain

    brokeagain Been here awhile

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    Great choice :)

    I've been rebuilding various parts and such on mine since I've gotten it last year.

    Last nights adventure involved cleaning the carb, I would get a new set of gaskets if you're going to be pulling it apart.

    Tip for getting the dual carbs out - Remove the charcoal canister (it's on the lower left side, and has hoses going to the airbox and the engine case). It makes life so much easier, and takes about a minute to put on/take off.

    As for the throttle cables, I second the motion pro. Cheap, and they work. However, putting the cables back together properly in the case at the throttle grip is SUCH A PAIN :) So is getting the pull cable (There are two, a push and a pull) into it's spot on the throttle at the carb.

    Ricky stator installation is pretty easy, just bolt it on. However, do your best to seal up the grommet where the wires come out. Oil likes to come out of there. Grounding it properly is pretty important as well. I tried to ground it to the airbox, but I don't think that I did it right. When I grounded it to the top engine mount under one of those bolts, it worked well. For the neutral switch wire, make sure it's not touching anything else, or the light will stay on all the time. But be sure not to tighten the nut on the neutral switch too hard, it's ... fragile. Then you won't have a neutral light. Ask how I know :)

    And, I second the Shinko tires as well. They do fine for my purposes, which isn't anything exteme. And they're reasonably priced.

    Sorry if any of this is very basic to you or anyone, just sharing my experiences from the past few weeks. Just love my XL, it's feels like freaking rocket.


    Edit: I should read the whole thread before blabbering. My bad.
    #13
  14. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    You got a good deal...I feel that any dual sport bike in good mechanical/running order is worth $1500 at least.
    #14
  15. bdcorrigan

    bdcorrigan Been here awhile

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    South Of Portland Oregon in the Burbs
    PM sent
    #15
  16. mcma111

    mcma111 Long timer

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    You might want to open the throttle assy and check the routing of the cables around part # 20

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. rover215

    rover215 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    N. Portland
    Got my new cables- one Motion Pro and not sure of the other but it'll have to do for now. Now to soak one of the mounting screws retaining the cables loose. It's really in there and began to strip when I tried loosening it. I'll hit it with some liquid Wrench but I may have to dremmel a flathead groove into it's Phillips head.
    I also got a used bikini fairing from an '84 XL350R that looks compatible with the original faring on my bike. After that, I want to have a 19" front wheel built using an original XL600R hub laced to a good aftermarket rim (Excel, D.I.D.). Anyone ever had this done or know someone that has? I'm going to call Buchanan's for spokes. After it's built, I'll fit the set with road tires and the spare set with dual-cross tires. I'm probably going to fit a 40 tooth rear sprocket so it'll be more highway friendly. Looking into JT Sprockets for that source.
    #17