Arts' RTW XR650L Build Thread.

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by HaveMotorcycleWillTravel, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    The bike is a 2000 Honda XR650L that I purchased February of 2017 for 2500$. I bought a lemon. The PO had neglected every aspect of it and I was so damn excited to buy it I entirely overlooked checking the condition of the air filter. It had completely disintegrated.

    The poor engine had been sucking in all sorts of debris for who knows how long and I bought it on its last leg. Fortunately I am paranoid, and a light licking in the top end led me to entirely take it apart 200 miles after the purchase before anything blew up. A Wiseco 101mm 8.7:1 CR piston was swapped in, new bore/hone/rings, and the bottom end was inspected for wear of which "none" was found.

    So that got me back to riding the bike. I put 5,000 miles on her this past summer and loved every one of them, but a new top end isn't going to get this bike around the world and so some modifications need to be made.

    Im a college student who will be graduating this may and so I am broke. The bike is being built in my bedroom in my apartment. Somehow my girlfriend puts up with it. Either way its a small space and entirely unconventional, but for me, it works.

    Modifications to come:
    Engine:
    -New rings/hone
    -2nd/5th gear mod
    -New gaskets
    -Timing belt
    -Camshaft Bearings
    -Sutton Cycles Oil Cooler
    -EBC clutch
    -(Possibly) High output stator

    Suspension:
    - Racetech 12.0 kg rear spring
    - Progressive rate fork springs

    Wheels:
    -Tubliss setup with Heidenau's

    Fuel:
    -Acerbis 5.8g tank
    -Mikuni TM40 pumper carb

    Controls:
    -HDB risers/clamps/handguards
    -Trail Tech Vapor
    -SAE connectors etc.

    Misc.:
    -Battery relocation
    -LED Headlight
    -LED Auxillary light
    -Rotopax
    -MOSKO MOTO Reckless 80L/Nomad tank bag/Fatty tool roll
    -XR's only fork brace
    -XR's only dipstick
    -XR's only case saver
    -PSR Disc guard
    -Genssi Alarm system
    -Supertrapp exhaust

    Body:
    -CRF front and rear fender conversion
    -Corbin wide seat
    -Moose Headlight guard
    -Slipstreamer spitfire windscreen
    -MSR skidplate


    Theres some things Im probably leaving out, but that is the bulk of it and I am tired. Im wrapping up the last semester of my undergraduate degree in physiology and finishing school strong is my first priority, so do bear with me if this thread isn't constantly being updated.

    Currently:
    20180118_223837.jpg
    #1
  2. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    665
    Location:
    The Big Mitten
    I've built up an XRL for long distance work - did a 15100 mile ride on it in '09. Here are a few of my thoughts...

    The best seats I've found these days are Seat Concepts... have one on my XRL, DRZ400, DR350 and DR650.

    LED lights are light and cool... but... that standard H4 bulb lasts a long time and easily found along the way. Save your money.

    Oil cooler is a good idea, just make sure it doesn't interfere with the airflow around the cylinder - don't ask me how I know... The oil temps on these run HOT so after you break it in run synthetic oil and change it often - Honda's recommended interval is 2000 miles. On long highway stretches they tend to burn oil as the oil get so hot it vaporizes and gets sucked into the intake tract.

    Suspension - I put a Race Tech gold Valve in the shock - it works real good. Lowering link to make the seat height more manageable.
    Forks - I'm currently running an '04 CRF250R front end - had to modify the stem to make it fit, now you can use the steering stem bearings from All Balls and it pretty much will drop in. The Showa 47 forks are more prone to leakage, the SKF fork seals are supposed to be the answer. Time will tell, but the ride is magic.

    Carb - for a long ride performance is not the concern. Reliability and fuel range is. Leave the stock carb stock. DON'T do Dave's mod - my mileage dropped to 35mpg. The CV carbs are somewhat altitude compensating.

    All the aftermarket exhausts are louder, but do give better performance and lighter weight. Optional, but not necessary. Make sure it is mounted securely.
    #2
  3. JCool

    JCool Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,686
    Dave's Mod is basically a re-jet which needs to be done regardless. Especially with any intake , engine or exhaust changes.
    #3
  4. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    Edit: This is in no way meant to be a guide! This is the first time I have done this and am by no means an engine builder! There are far more knowledgable people on this forum that should be referred to for similar work. I strongly encourage you to offer your advice if you have any! That said, I am confident in my ability to understand how these systems work and thoroughly research each step of this process as I go along. The factory manual is referred to for all specifications listed, if any.

    Ok, got some work done last night and didnt get to bed till around 2am, awesome.

    Anyways, I try to eat my vegetables first, so the bottom end had to come apart.

    I started by numbering my case bolts, as in the past I have hurriedly taken them off without noting their respective holes. #1-8

    BTW I know the casings are dirty and am a little embarrassed.

    20180119_183600.jpg

    With the right crankcase cover off the next step was to remove the clutch assembly and primary drive gear, respectively. After removing the clutch springs and pressure plate, an impact wrench and 27mm socket takes off the clutch center locknut after it is unstaked.
    20180119_184755.jpg

    The basket and full assembly then pulls off. A 30mm socket and impact wrench takes off the primary drive gear nut followed by the oil pump drive gear and then the primary drive gear. The timing chain guide is then removed followed by the chain.

    20180119_184755.jpg

    With the right crankcase cover off, the left (8) and right (2) crankcase bolts needed to be removed. The left crankcase cover was then removed to allow access to the left crankcase bolts, numbered 1-8, respectively.
    20180119_211358.jpg

    Attached Files:

    #4
    ONandOFF likes this.
  5. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    Unfortunately my starter would not budge and so the right crankcase cover was removed along with the starter, allowing access to one of case bolts.
    20180119_231506.jpg

    The left crankcase bolts were removed and numbered 1-7. (I believe the eighth crankcase bolt in the manual belongs to part of the starter housing?)

    I found some sort of silt or sediment around the counterweights and flywheel further justifying the bottom end disassembly. :becca

    20180119_221358.jpg

    With all the bolts removed and set aside, the cases were ready to be split.

    20180119_231929.jpg
    #5
    ONandOFF likes this.
  6. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    I then used a penetrating oil on the seam of the two cases and let it sit for a few minutes, then began tapping very light around the entire circumference of the seam. I did not get any splitting after doing this for about 10 minutes, re-checked for missed bolts, removed the oil pump (just in case) and went back to tapping. No avail. I located a pry point and used a very fine flat head in parallel with the seam and very lightly tapped it in, careful not to damage the casing surfaces.

    I did this near the dowels and support mounts to minimize the chance of damaging a more vulnerable area.
    20180120_005136.jpg
    Once I had enough room, I used a plastic paint scraper and lightly hammered it in, further separating the cases, doing this in a criss-crossed pattern.

    20180120_004622.jpg

    The cases were then split, with the right crankcase facing upright so as not to let the gears slide while they were separated.

    It was 1:30 am at this point and I called it a night.

    20180120_113611.jpg

    Attached Files:

    #6
    Bananapete, ONandOFF and invisa-bill like this.
  7. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    So when I purchased the bike it came with the mikuni, the corbin wide seat and the supertrapp exhaust among other things. I also have the stock carb that was taken off. I love the mikuni but mileage and reliability are more important to me than a small performance gain, so I see your point with the mileage, but don't see the difference in reliability? Why do you say that the stock CV carb is able to compensate better at altitude?

    Ive known a few to switch to the CRF forks, but it seemed almost unnecessary for my purposes, certainly something id like to do though.

    The oil cooler is machined specifically for the XRL and so I like to think the hard working engineers at Sutton Cycles kept airflow in mind.

    But if I may ask, what did you find to be the biggest drawbacks of the XRL when it came to long distance riding?
    #7
  8. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    athens,greece
    CV carb slide must "see" pressure difference in order to lift up.
    higher pressure difference =higher lift,lower pressure difference =lower lift.
    that's how it compensates in higher altitudes.providing always the fuel that the engine needs,no more no less

    be aware that
    :compensation is only for the AFR (air to fuel ratio)
    :it will not compensate in the idle circuit and full throttle+full rpm.
    it is you to compensate the idle ratio setting the idle mixture screw
    :the bike will loose power on higher altitudes (less oxygen)

    as for the reliability:
    lean mixture = surging,reduced power, engine runs higher temps
    rich mixture = reduced power and fuel economy ,engine runs cooler ,spark plugs may foul.

    we can talk about carbon deposits inside engine or overheated parts and the impact on reliability or a permanent failure of your engine.
    it's a long trip,passing through places with extreme differences on temp, altitude and humidity.
    all of them affect engine's AFR.
    CV carb can help you a little giving your engine the best possible AFR it can throughout those changes

    keep going!!!:beer
    #8
  9. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    665
    Location:
    The Big Mitten
    The biggest drawback? Humm... probably the 2000 mile oil change interval. I had to change the oil every 10 days roughly. Not too bad.

    I lost the rear wheel bearings going through Nevada - on both of the times I rode the TAT. Something about the extremely dusty conditions.

    Broke the rear sub frame twice too... but it had originally been damaged when I bought the bike. Both times it broke just behind the seat mount bolt on the right side. That's why you want to minimize how much you carry, and then carry it low for better handling.

    On the big trip I went through 3 sets of brake pads on the front and 2 on the rear. I run kevlar pads - again, durability versus performance.

    Dave's mod is not just changing jetting, it also calls for drilling the slide, so you can't go back. Supposedly the bigger hole causes the slide to rise faster for better performance... but for a truly long ride performance is NOT the primary concern. Reliability and comfort is, a good suspension will make you go farther faster then more power - really, the limiting factor is the rider.

    Plumer has a really nice description of why the CV works better for this kind of ride.

    Tires - I run K270's front and rear, run the 5.10-18 in the rear and 3.25-21 in the front. Can get 6k out of them and they're cheap. A knobby up front would have been nice in the Rockies and westward, but I got along fine on the K270s. Remember, the TAT is mostly back roads - not single track. Deep sand, mud is gonna be a problem on anything, technique and experience is your best friend for sand, mud - either wait it out or get out of the ruts and on the vegetation along the side of the road. Use your head. Slow down, but keep moving forward. The biggest help is learning to pick good lines.... avoid the things that can throw you off the direction you want to go, and try to keep the movement of the bike smooth.
    #9
  10. JCool

    JCool Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,686
    :fpalm There is absolutely no reliability issue to enlarging the vacuum hole in the carb slide , NONE.
    #10
  11. baldman1

    baldman1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,219
    I too built up an XRL for travel. This is what I learned.
    Engine
    NX 2nd gear only not the 5th gear. Reason is most of the countries I rode thru I never got over 60 mph so the NX 5th was not needed
    Bump the compression to 9.5-1 small increase in power and still able to burn shitty gas.
    Keep the stock carb. I did Daves mods but used a 52 pilot jet, 152 main jet, .030" shim under the needle. This combo gave me just about perfect jetting from sea level to 12000 feet. I got about 55 to 50 mpg.
    Replace the oil pump with a new one their cheap.
    New timing chain along with the tensioner and spring.
    MAKE SURE the cam and rockers are in good shape. If in doubt buy new ones.
    Oil cooler is a must. I too went with the Sutton, excellent product. Central and South America were brutally hot.
    Install UNI air filter and keep it oiled.
    New clutch pack and springs. No need for heavier clutch spriings.
    USE OEM gaskets. They cost more but will guarantee a leak free engine.
    I used the full FMF exhaust system with the Q4
    I used a reusable oil filter. Made things easier on oil changes.
    Kickstarter mod was a must. Saved me a few times when my battery was dead and was unable to push start it due to deep sand


    Frame
    I never had a subframe problem. I used the twisted throttle rack with Traxx panniers. The rack strengthens and supports the subframe.
    I left the battery where it was but used a lithium ion battery which shaved about 5 pounds off.
    I kept the stock forks but used progressive springs. I kept the rear shock stock and never had issues with either
    Replace all the bearings including the stearing stem and swingarm.
    I used EBC brake pads. They lasted a LONG time.
    Gearing for me was stock seemed to work the best.
    Seat Concepts kit was a lifesaver
    Don't use LED headlight bulb it sucked. Looks brighter but wasn't any better than stock. I ended up using the trail tech 8" race light. Not legal in the States but a lifesaver elsewhere.
    I used 2" risers and a renthal CR high rise aluminum handlebars. Way better than the stock one.
    Good quality hand guards were a must. I crashed numerous times and those things saved my hands and levers, worth every penny.
    Clarke 4.7 gallon tank was just about perfect.
    Highway pegs are a must.
    A cush drive hub
    #11
  12. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    Beautifully explained and thanks for the words of encouragement, I needed 'em!

    Yes, the oil change interval will be quite obnoxious. Did you run full synthetic? If so, was it hard to find in the less developed areas?

    My rear subframe has been reinforced by the P.O.. The welds look like they were done well, and the supports are solid. Hopefully I am not bringing more than 100lbs of luggage, and that is an over estimate I hope.

    Thanks for bringing up the wheel bearings, its easily to forget those "little" things. Ill have to check my swingarm bearings as well for lateral play as baldman suggests replacing them.

    Did you run any type of cush drive? Ill be starting in CO doing the COBDR and then into Zion and Mexico to the Americas, so no TAT but those conditions are inevitable. Good tips, thanks.

    Im on board with everything you said. I like to think I can compensate for the cush drive with riding technique and staying on as much dirt as possible. I know people who hammer on their bikes all the time every ride. I don't ride like that and I really try to baby my engine. My output shaft is in good condition after 15k miles and I've swapped in the moose XRR front sprocket. The fifth gear is going in. Ive had too many situations on the highway where it would be nice to go from 70-85 quickly, not to mention my trans is completely disassembled and the gears are ready to drop in as you will see.

    After removing the residual gasket material last night and creating minor imperfections on the casing surfaces, I will most likely have a leak. Quite upsetting.

    Ill get some pictures up later of my cam and rockers for some opinions if you folks don't mind!

    Art
    #12
    AdamsTipsy and ONandOFF like this.
  13. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    OK, got some more done this weekend.

    Obviously my workspace was nowhere near clean enough for the dismantle and reassembly of the engine components and I was becoming incredibly nervous about the cleanliness. So I cleaned it up and laid out some plastic sheet.

    20180120_182835.jpg

    First the Gearshift spindle assembly was removed, followed by the shift fork bolt/shaft. This allowed me to remove the left right and center shift forks, as well as the shift spindle. Once these components were out of the way I was able to remove the mainshaft/countershaft assembly as a whole, taking plenty of pictures and careful to note any discrepancies.

    20180120_193418.jpg

    20180120_194447.jpg

    I used my table to orient the the components and keep their order, indicating the front, left and right of the bike. I then very carefully disassembled the mainshaft and countershaft while laying out each part as they were removed, respectively. You can see the new 2nd and 5th gears oriented in front of their predecessors.
    20180120_201852.jpg
    #13
    Bananapete, ONandOFF and mikeysduck like this.
  14. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    Next step was to clean the casings of their gasket material. I wanted as much of the engine disassembled as possible to avoid gasket debris getting into unfavorable areas of the engine. The bearings were my biggest concern. I thought I would need the flywheel puller to remove and install the new gears, which was not the case, regardless I pulled the flywheel after the fact. I wrapped the connecting rod in cloth and used the impact wrench to drive the puller into the crankshaft, pulling the flywheel from the crankshaft.

    20180121_135737.jpg

    I then spent the next 3 hours removing gasket material. Unfortunately I used a yellow 3M Roloc bristle disc on the outer surface of the left crankcase. After seeing much debate online as to how to remove gasket material, it seemed the consensus was not to use anything abrasive, regardless of grit or material type. I was pretty upset that I potentially damaged my casing surface, fortunately it was not done where the two crankcases meet and those surfaces are near perfect.But, I may have an oil leak from my left crankcase cover :baldy

    I resorted to an adhesive/gasket remover and all sorts of scrapers. Despite buying plenty of paint scrapers I found the most effective methods to be using the edge of my lighter and a deodorant cap among other plastic things. Thanks Old Spice.

    20180121_174550.jpg

    With the gaskets removed I blasted the entire casings with three cans of brake cleaner and then shot compressed air into all of the crevasses and screw holes.
    20180121_195848.jpg

    With the cases as clean as I could get them, I then blasted the bearings with a good coat of oil, checked each bearings movement (which was butter). I checked the connecting rod and counterweights for any interference, of which none was found, and then liberally coated the entire assembly in oil and wrapped each case in plastic.

    20180121_200243.jpg

    That said, today I will reassemble the main and countershaft, then close up the cases with new gaskets. If you know any methods to ensure a good seal I am all ears. Thanks!
    #14
    AdamsTipsy and ONandOFF like this.
  15. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    athens,greece
    guys i need to ask.
    installing an oil cooler keeping oil temp below the boiling point does it helps for bigger oil
    change intervals?
    #15
  16. Egoland

    Egoland Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    67
    Location:
    Denmark, Scandinavia
    Only in theory. You prolly never know, when your oil is (too) hot, and the extra amount in the cooler is not so much, that it realy counts. But better safe than sorry, so I would add the cooler, and stick with the intervals. A filter adds life to your oil, tho....
    #16
  17. HaveMotorcycleWillTravel

    HaveMotorcycleWillTravel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Bouldair CO
    Is a reusable filter cutting corners?

    Wanted to put the casings back together last night but after reading crappy reviews about the Winderosa gaskets I bought, I found an OEM bottom end kit and the Cometic top end kit that should be better quality...
    #17
    pennswoodsed likes this.
  18. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork Ol Two Flags Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11,759
    Location:
    Richland WA
    My brother did an 8 month South America ride on a XR650L I did most of the setup on the bike before he left. After he got back I took the bike back and turned it into a dirt bike until the frame started cracking in to many places for me to keep riding it.

    I responded in red to your list and here are a couple more things to consider.

    A kick starter isn't a bad idea.
    Since you already have the frame stripped down I would add the welded on subframe braces.
    Chinese cheapo foot pegs. They are quite a bit wider and better than the stock pegs.
    A tank bag is really handy.
    Since you already have your frame stripped it would be pretty cool to put in a oil sight tube next to the dip stick.
    Make sure you still have the oil separator installed on the crank case breather.

    I would also become a regular in the XR650L thread in the thumpers sub forum. You will get a lot of wisdom and help in there.


    I suppose it could be useful to document this process and encourage feedback from everyone as no man is an island, so please, chime in!

    The bike is a 2000 Honda XR650L that I purchased February of 2017 for 2500$. I bought a lemon. The PO had neglected every aspect of it and I was so damn excited to buy it I entirely overlooked checking the condition of the air filter. It had completely disintegrated.

    The poor engine had been sucking in all sorts of shit for who knows how long and I bought it on its last leg. Fortunately I am paranoid, and a light licking in the top end led me to entirely take it apart 200 miles after the purchase before anything blew up. A Wiseco 101mm 8.7:1 CR piston was swapped in, new bore/hone/rings, and the bottom end was inspected for wear of which "none" was found.

    So that got me back to riding the bike. I put 5,000 miles on her this past summer and loved every one of them, but a new top end isn't going to get this bike around the world and so some modifications need to be made.

    Im a college student who will be graduating this may and so I am broke. The bike is being built in my bedroom in my apartment. Somehow my girlfriend puts up with it. Either way its a small space and entirely unconventional, but for me, it works.

    Modifications to come:
    Engine:
    -New rings/hone A slight bump in compression wouldn't hurt you...
    -2nd/5th gear mod If you're on a budget I wouldn't worry about it and if you have the stock compression piston with stock gearing the 5th gear isn't worth it.
    -New gaskets
    -Timing belt
    -Camshaft Bearings
    -Sutton Cycles Oil Cooler
    -EBC clutch
    -(Possibly) High output stator Heated gear is the shit!

    Suspension:
    - Racetech 12.0 kg rear spring At least get the gold valves to go along with the new springs
    - Progressive rate fork springs

    Wheels:
    -Tubliss setup with Heidenau's Nuetech Tubliss or a true tubliss rim? I wouldn't bother with either and I am huge fan of the Nuetech system. Go with tubes carry a spare for front and rear and a patch kit.

    Fuel:
    -Acerbis 5.8g tank
    -Mikuni TM40 pumper carb Stick with the stock carb. Jet it correctly. Do or don't do Dave's mod...

    Controls:
    -HDB risers/clamps/handguards Good Choice, get his mirrors as well. They are far better than any other mirror I have tried.
    -Trail Tech Vapor
    -SAE connectors etc.

    Misc.:
    -Battery relocation Leave it in the stock spot. This is a RTW bike not a dirt bike.
    -LED Headlight
    -LED Auxillary light
    -Rotopax Get the gas bag from Giant Loop. It's a lot more flexible and takes up less room when not in use.
    -MOSKO MOTO Reckless 80L/Nomad tank bag/Fatty tool roll
    -XR's only fork brace
    -XR's only dipstick
    -XR's only case saver I'm not sure if they're different but the Manracks stator side case saver is a must.
    -PSR Disc guard
    -Genssi Alarm system
    -Supertrapp exhaust The stock is the quietest but I like FMF Power Core a lot better and the FMF Q is a good compromise but exhaust is mostly personal preference

    Body:
    -CRF front and rear fender conversion Leave it stock. The stock front fender has better coverage and the rear isn't half as stock as the stock unit.
    -Corbin wide seat Seat Concepts makes a great seat but only your ass can tell which is best.
    -Moose Headlight guard
    -Slipstreamer spitfire windscreen
    -MSR skidplate


    Theres some things Im probably leaving out, but that is the bulk of it and I am tired. Im wrapping up the last semester of my undergraduate degree in physiology and finishing school strong is my first priority, so do bear with me if this thread isn't constantly being updated.
    #18
  19. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork Ol Two Flags Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11,759
    Location:
    Richland WA
    You want the bike to run slightly above the boil point of water so that if there is any condensation it well evaporate and get sent out the crank case breather.
    #19
    ONandOFF likes this.
  20. JCool

    JCool Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,686
    Did you ever notice steam coming from a hot pot or cup of coffee that's not boiling ? The oil doesn't have to reach 212* to steam off moisture. Yes , an oil cooler can lengthen oil change intervals , XRs run HOT.
    #20
    shinyribs likes this.