‘81 Honda XL185s - Input and Suggestions (just purchased)

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by gpack, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

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  2. JCool

    JCool Long timer

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    The Honda shop manual is no longer available , but Clymer still has one.
    #22
  3. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    You all are great - I appreciate the help and patience. I have a Clymer manual and will certainly use the information everyone has provided to get the jobs done. Thanks for the input thus far, everyone.
    #23
  4. sparkingdogg

    sparkingdogg Prisoner In Disguise

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    You probably figured it out, but most XL/XR models of that era have two bolts on the bottom of the seat, holding it down. Kind of a pain. Not sure of yours but likely that's it.

    I have rebuilt a couple hundred carburetors. Many vintage. I never get kits. The original jets can be cleaned easy enough (in most cases). Reproduction needles and jets can often be "close but no cigar" especially the Chinese made stuff. OEM original is much better. You have low miles, the needle should be fine. At most you probably need a bowl gasket and maybe a needle valve, if it has a rubber tip. Lots of ways to clean carbs. I use Chem-Dip. Lots of people use Pinesol.

    D.I.D. makes excellent products, as others have said. Can't go wrong.

    Have fun, I have had 15 or 20 XL/XR in all different sizes and years. The 185's are fairly rare. Don't see them much any more. Neat bike.
    #24
  5. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    Thanks for this.
    From other member input, I am looking at the Keyster carb kit to have on hand. The engine runs smooth and cranks quick on one kick.

    Yes - the seat is held by the two side bolts.
    #25
  6. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

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  7. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    That's a good article/video. I am certainly knowing this is a good bike and do want to alter some items to make a useful off road machine.
    #27
  8. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    It was stated pertaining to lowering the front:

    “Front is easy. Buy new springs or used ones, cut them down and install spacers under the damper rod top out spring. You'll want to buy spare damper rods and change the orifices on them.”

    1. New front springs, check. Cut down how far to achieve 1.5-2” drop for front?

    2. Are there orifices to be changed or just holes in the tubes that are not serviceable?

    3. How do I properly measure the rear shock length so I can shorten that value to order shorter aftermarket shocks? Will a 1” shorter shock actually achieve 1” drop or will angle be involved? (I.e. 1” shorter achieves only .5” drop..)

    I am going to clean/coat the tank, redo the seat, and work on lowering the bike soon as my first endeavors.
    #28
  9. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    ^^^ Any input would be great. :)
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  10. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

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    If you're going to lower it, you may want to see if Emulators are available for the forks. http://www.racetech.com/page/title/Emulators-How They Work

    If you use Emulators, they'll be supplied with instructions as far as drilling the damping rods.

    In general, how much you lower (cut off) the top spring, you'll add a spacer to the top out spring. Progressive (brand) springs are usually shorter than stock and use spacers to take up the space. If you installed them without spacers (if they are indeed shorter), then all you'd have to do is install spacers on the top out springs. That would be pretty straight forward if the Progressive springs for your bike use spacers.

    With less travel, higher quality damping would be welcome. Same for the rear shocks, go for something with more control if shorter.



    I've use Red Kote on a lot of tanks, motorcycle and automotive. Great stuff. It's all about preparation and attentiveness when coating. Too thick isn't good. You've got to make certain to keep the tank moving until an even coat and drain off the excess. Two or three coats if need be, but let the final coat dry at least a week. Have extra acetone one hand to thin it out if too thick and to clean up.
    #30
  11. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    Thanks for this.

    What I did so far is purchase a used set of forks from eBay so I could take the springs out and modify those rather than cut mine. I saw a video of a guy who lowered an XR and it was like you said with the spacers, cutting the spring, and that was it. Of course he filled with oil, primed, and so on, but there were just some details left out that I was looking for.

    Any idea how to measure the rear shocks properly to obtain a shorter set? I do not know my technical stock measurement that could be reduced by an inch or two so I can hunt for a new size.
    #31
  12. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

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    If I was looking for different rear shocks on an XL, I'd search Ebay for options and go from there.

    There's a whole bunch of Chinese shocks on Ebay that'd work. I'd look for some that at least had a rebound and preload adjustment.

    I spend a lot of time searching online for compatible parts when I buy something older or oddball. If you've got measurements, there's the whole world of parts to find something that will work. I don't skip looking at Grainger or wandering around local hardware stores either.


    You've got an old and simple bike. You're imagination is pretty much the limit for sourcing parts.
    #32
  13. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    eBay is my plan. Just not sure how to measure a shock properly - there are different methods online, but not sure which is solid so I can properly achieve the 1-2" drop I am looking for.
    #33
  14. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    This is concerning. This bolt holding the engine to the frame right above the small front sprocket appears to have JBWeld or some other equivalent patching the underside of the hole mount plate on the frame. This bolt should not be black as the nut on the other side is not painted. Seems there is a crack on the bottom side of the bolt hole on right side and maybe the entire plate on the left. Thoughts?

    ‘Simple’ resolution is to clean, prep, weld the potential damage underneath.

    64712187-4210-4860-ADE5-1365B8E2C2FA.jpeg 950B5685-9A6F-40B0-9DA6-08A21B0041BF.jpeg 272A1E81-9F58-451F-9F26-FFDDDABD92AC.jpeg 606A27CC-E888-40A6-9932-EC32A1F4D433.jpeg
    #34
  15. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    Anyone on the above ^^^

    Regarding lowering - I am going to cut the seat down only. I weigh 145 lbs wet and the cushion has a good few inches in the center to allow for cutting down and still giving me a comfortable ride. It strays from a good stock seat cushion, but I find it will be better time spent and money saved to leave the suspension be and trim the cushion a touch. This will be my last item once the bike is back together and I can test the height comfortably.
    #35
  16. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    Sprocket cover removed - seen below. Everything look normal? Cover was welded at some point.

    Also, do the sprockets look as though they should be changed?

    Thanks for any help (above posts help needed as well)
    B5082F32-8E9F-4E46-95AE-55A1A79BD718.jpeg 75801816-6256-4566-AEC0-D7C0E3DB6EB1.jpeg DABD76A7-0998-47BA-BBB3-4F420ED1343C.jpeg 62BA78DB-6ADB-4243-BA52-E391A1324809.jpeg
    #36
  17. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    image.jpg
    #37
  18. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

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    Engine Bolt:

    If the bracket is broken, take the bolt out, and have the broken piece welded back on. Then, have a washer welded over that. There's enough space and bolt left for a washer to beef up the repaired area. That should work as a permanent solution.

    Broken engine brackets are often a result of loose engine bolts. Keep 'em tight.


    Sprocket/Cover:

    Everything looks fine there, other than the top bolt hole damage and minor repair. Any damage in front of the sprocket would be concerning, because there is an oil gallery there. Why someone thought they needed to use blue silicone, or any sealer, on the cover is beyond me.

    The front sprocket is just starting to hook. If you can turn is around, it'll get you a few thousand more miles, if not, it's still good for <1,000 before it'll start causing chain vibration and harder shifting.

    It looks like someone has been using white lithium grease or something similar to lube the chain. Hose that chain down with some WD40 to get all the crud off of it. If it's an O-ring chain, WD40 is all I use to keep it clean and rust free. If it's a standard chain, I only use non detergent 30w motor oil.

    I've tried just about every 'special' chain lube out there. The above suggestions are what I've determined works best and keeps everything clean and easy to maintain.
    #38
  19. gpack

    gpack Yamaha-er

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    Thanks so much for this. The washer reinforcement is a great idea and the idea of loose bolts causing damage is a little more reassuring. History on this bike is really unknown and by what I can see, it seems there may have been an incident in some way, not sure (broken/repaired sprocket cover, broken motor mount, broken top bolt mount). The handlebars are in great shape, but after blasting and polishing a 1/4" crack was noticed near the mounting points of the bars on the left side (same side everything else is damaged). Frame and wheels are straight and nothing else is damaged to note. Heck, 37 years and it's current state - I would say it will survive.

    I never considered hooking as something to note with a sprocket and possibly turning it around to hook the other direction. I will keep this in mind. The chain hooking is typically indicative of chain wear/lengthening, correct? I will likely be replacing the sprockets and chain to start fresh and keep the old as backups.
    #39
  20. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

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    The chain, rear sprocket, and front sprocket look like they may have all been replaced together.

    You may want to consider just replacing the front sprocket for now. Typically, you'll go through 2-3 front sprockets for each rear. Replace the front sprocket when it begins to show wear, and you'll save $$ by making sure the chain and rear sprocket last longer. The front (countershaft) sprocket is also the lowest cost of the three.

    Like I suggested, if you can run the front sprocket two ways, you can get much longer service from it, if you turn it around before the wear becomes extreme.
    #40