WR250R engine rebuild mid trip

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by darkhelmetnl, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    In this topic I'll document my adventure of rebuilding an engine for the first time during an adventure trip. This will be partially for myself to document what I did, but also for others to learn and or entertain.

    So here's the subject of the story:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/PSC1uaF1vfqZRrQC7

    My Yamaha WR250X 2010 converted into an R for my road to trip through northern America.
    I got the bike second hand and build it up for my trip. It had already done about 27.000km when I got it.

    So during my trip, about 5500km of various riding, from highway to BDR to trails and technical stuff in Utah and Colorado, it behaved like I expected. Enough power, enough ground clearance, comfortable enough for day long rides.

    So I start in Vancouver and tour around a bit and end up in Colorado. There I do some trail riding, bike is still doing fine.

    Couple thousand KMs later, I'm on my way from Colorado Springs to little big horn when the engine started acting up. I stranded in Rawlins WY.

    That's where the story starts. To be continued....
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®℗

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  3. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    The morning I left from Riverside WY and the engine was kind of noisy,I could hear a noise. Sounded a bit like a loose cam chain, which I had before. Not a big problem, just plan some maintenance I thought.
    So I continued and the engine started to sounded worse. Also at around 8000 feet, the bike slows down on uphills. That is new, I've been at higher altitudes without that problem.
    I was about 30 miles from Rawlins, so decided to continue and find a garage there. Coming into town the noise was a lot worse and the bike even stalled running stationary.
    Videoclip of the engine running:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZPrXmZYXHgQCNbfY7

    I got referred to the Quik Lube. They service cars, but also work on motorcycles and do the maintenance for state of Wyoming bikes.
    I called ahead and they told me I could stop by.
    They started to work on my poor Berry straight away. They discussed every step of troubleshooting and the time it would take.
    They checked:
    - cam chain
    - cam chain tensioner
    - clutch side of the engine
    - oil pressure
    - cams
    But nothing out of the ordinary was found. So they took out the stethoscope. Meanwhile it was around closing time and some friend mechanics from other shops came by to listen. At the end about 3 guys were involved and it didn't look pretty.
    Consensus was it just be something in the bottom end.

    I didn't think of taking photos. I was not focused on that, I was not the happiest

    They put the bike back together and suggested I'd take the bike to Laramie, to the Yamaha dealer.

    They had been very accommodating, offered me a beer and only would charge me for 1 hour of labor. Now that is service. The owner of the shop, Damien said he couldn't see himself charging more. He also said that he would look into getting me a ride to Laramie in the morning.

    So about 3,5 hours later,I was stuck in Rawlins, bike barely working. I took off to the campsite and 1 mile down the road the bike finally stopped with some nasty noises like a bunch of marbles was set loose.

    I pushed the bike back to the shop and luckily they were still there. I got a lift to the campsite and the comforting words they would do their best to find a ride for me in the morning.
    #3
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  4. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    So meanwhile I got into contact with an AdvRider who offered me to stay. The next morning Damien from the Quik Lube told me he found a ride for me. I got a ride from his retired friend Neil. In Laramie I met with Rory, Advrider. He let me use his garage and offered me a bed and took me under his wing to show me around Laramie. He basically said: "as long as it takes, I want to see you leave with a smile on your face"
    The motorcycle community is great!

    Meanwhile I actually feel great again. Although I have a tanked motor, I met some great people, have a place to work on my bike and I get to check off an item on my bucket list.

    So in Rory's garage start taking apart the bike. And then the signs are starting to show.

    The cooling liquid is brownish, and doesn't smell like cooling liquid. Not sure what changed it. Couldn't find any leaks at the water pump.

    The top end looks fine though. So I start to dig deeper with the bottom end suspicion on my mind.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    #4
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  5. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Since I don't have any special tools like a clutch holder, I have to make do with improvised methods. It works great, until I get to the clutch basket. I take the nut off with an impact gun. But I forget to hold the basket. After I take off the basket, an oil pump gear appears to have broken off.
    Maybe I wasn't careful enough. But as I open the oil pump, I find that it has a lot of scoring, and that it takes a lot of effort to spin it. So maybe it broke down with the engine, who knows.
    Furthermore, the result of something going wrong has been piling up at the oil filter. Lots of metal parts in there.

    What I also see, is that someone has been in there before and didn't replace the lock washer.

    Doesn't look good, let's see the bottom end. 20180622_155625.jpeg 20180622_151522(1).jpeg 20180622_145145.jpeg 20180622_145321.jpeg
    #5
  6. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    As I get the cylinder off, I can see what happened, the big end bearing gave up. The con rod is very loose. Very similar to what happened to HardWorkingDog:
    https://advrider.com/index.php?threads/wr250r-engine-failure-or-the-thngvb-noise.1125636/

    I dig further and with a little creativity I get most of the engine disassembled.
    Even some blind bearings I get out by some grease packing and hammering.

    I find that the stator got a little burned somehow.. it is the recall version though.

    I bring the casing to a car garage a few blocks down the road to get the stator rotor off, it's on there tight. And two bearings also don't want to let go.
    I also ask them to clean the casing for me.

    Having the engine apart I am able to do a full damage assessment.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    #6
  7. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    The cylinder got nicked pretty good, scoring and flaking of the cylinder coating.

    Short list of damages things:
    - Oil pump and gears
    - cylinder
    - piston
    - Crank
    - stator

    I weigh my options:
    1. Selling the bike and getting a new one: very costly and I'll have to change all the mods over.
    2. Get a second hand engine: most are around $2000 with little to no warranty and very uncertain history
    3. Rebuild the engine: lot of work and ordering lots of parts=waiting time
    4. Give up/Go to a very different bike. (Yeah right!)

    So I chose to go for option 3.
    It's probably the cheapest, I figure I can get the parts for under $1500.
    It also gives me the opportunity to rebuild an engine, which was on my bucket list anyway.
    A properly rebuild engine will be running great, and I'll feel more secure about it than an unknown second hand.
    And lastly I'll be able to give it a little more grunt.

    I call Thumper Racing and discuss options. They don't have the 280 bore kit in stock. It's at least two weeks until one is available. But I can do a stroker with a Hot Rod crank. That will give me more torque, but it won't be a dramatic change.
    They advise me to do a balancing on that one, if I go stroker. The vibrations and the load wont be too different from standard, what I understand. I can also keep the FMF programmer if I want.

    Judging from the experience of HardWorkingDog, I should replace all bearings in the casing. To be sure I replace the water pump and hoses because somehow strange liquid got in there.
    So I make a list and end up with for about $400 in Yamaha parts at Partzilla.
    This is without the cylinder, balanced crank and stator.

    The longest wait would be the crank, because Thumper Racing has to order one first and then balance it to the weight of the piston I have to order.
    They recon a week and a half.
    So I order the Athena standard bore cylinder & piston kit to get it ASAP so I can weigh the piston.

    20180622_143207.jpeg 20180622_143234.jpeg
    #7
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  8. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    First delays in delivery of parts:
    It looks like Partzilla is a bit 'optimistic' in their shipping times.
    The website says 1-2 business days the longest for some parts.
    Next day I get an email saying shipping is delayed for 2 weeks!
    So I call them up.
    1-2 business days is apparently an estimate IF there's stock at the Yamaha warehouse in the USA....

    I do a lot of googling for the delayed parts but come up with nothing good.
    Only alternative I find is eBay with a supplier named Partzilla, having several items in stock... Yeah right.

    So I suck it up and I guess I'll have to wait
    #8
  9. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Today I got the cylinder kit in from Athena.

    The finishing on the cylinder is not great, bit sharp edges. But otherwise looks okay. I shopped around for some feeler gauge that does 0.01mm so I can measure the cylinder/piston/piston ring fitting.
    No luck yet, most are in inch and not so "refined". I guess truly everything here in the states is big

    I weigh the piston,rings, clips and bushing from Athena: 235 grams. The old one comes in at 239 grams. Hopefully that will help with a smooth motor.
    I mail it to Thumper so they can get to work.
    Coming days parts will come in at a constant flow. I'm very eager to get it back together and see if I can rebuild an engine

    So during the waiting I clean up parts and organise the parts and check with the manual I have everything in order.

    I'll still have to figure a way to do without specialty tools, but Rory is very good at that, so I guess we'll manage.[​IMG]
    #9
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  10. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Ugh. Been there done that, DRZ. Rebuilt it at home, though.
    #10
  11. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Still waiting on parts... most of it is in, but critical parts are still on their way...

    Patience it takes. I'm hoping to get my bike running before I'll have to fly home on the 17th.

    Meanwhile I've been trying to get the bearings in, but no success so far.
    Heated the oven to 250F and put the bearings in the freezer. They didn't want to drop in, so next I'm going to try dry ice...
    The bearings are a very tight fit [​IMG]
    #11
  12. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Also I've had the Athena cylinder in. The supplied instructions aren't very clear.
    They don't tell which ring goes where.
    Neither do they tell if and how you should measure the piston ring gap.

    So i reached out to Athena USA themselves. They called me back and told me the rings were pre-measured, so that's pretty good. Because most of the clearances dont line up with the original service manual.
    So far good aftersales.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I've also noticed that the instructions for the piston rings don't match with the number of supplied rings. I'm going to give them another call...
    #12
  13. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Yesterday I tried dried ice. Got most of the bearings in. Some dropped, some required a gentle tap, some a firm tap with a driver.

    I didn't get in one of the crank bearings yet, maybe it needs to be pressed.
    Still waiting for one more bearing to show up.

    After putting in the sealed bearings (sealed on one side) I noticed they don't spin freely as the others do. Any body know what's the cause? Is it normal?
    #13
  14. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Yes, it's normal.
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  15. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

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    It is called seal drag !!!

    Don​
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  16. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Thanks! Learned something new
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  17. darkhelmetnl

    darkhelmetnl Been here awhile

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    Build on hold I had to leave the country for a trip back home.

    Couldn't put the engine back together because two bearings needed to go in with a press. One is done, other still needs to be done. Don't have a press at hand, only through a friend. So it will have to wait.

    End of August I'll continue...
    #17
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