XR400R Budget Baja build - for Baja Rally 2016 - and beyond...

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by JMo (& piglet), Dec 5, 2015.

  1. theantipaul

    theantipaul Reforming Neandertal Supporter

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    Thanks Luke, have always used TT and BD R/R's and never needed anything additional to keep the battery from discharging, that's why I asked and found it curious.

    One side of the coil has always been grounded at the regulator on my XR's, that's why I asked how Jen wired the R/R, shouldn't be bleeding off enough to kill a battery if it was a quality component, but like you say maybe it's the R/R.
    #61
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  2. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi TAP - all I know is with the Baja Designs battery effectively in place of the original capacitor, for some reason the battery would discharge over a few days... I spoke to Electrix about this (bearing in mind my reg/reg is the early RR120 version, plus a capacitor - bought in 2004), and they suggested it was most likely to be a back feed through the reg/rec into the stator, where presumably it discharged to ground?

    Fitting a diode in-line between the reg/reg + output and the battery stopped this happening, and my battery now remains charged indefinitely it would appear - certainly it was still fully charged after two months with the bike sat in the garage recently.

    If it's any help, my original wiring diagram was the same as Luke posted on the previous page.

    Jx
    #62
  3. theantipaul

    theantipaul Reforming Neandertal Supporter

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    I like Luke's theory of grounding through the R/R better, shouldn't be doing anything I can think of through the coil unless you have a small short there or somewhere in between. Either way I'd keep an eye on them as they could be on the road to failure. That could be bad for nav gear in the middle of nowhere in Mex.
    #63
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  4. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Thanks TAP, but I'm still not really sure what you mean?

    As Luke says, the stock stator is already floating (presumably you mean isolated) - while the yellow and pink AC wires from the stator go into the reg/reg, and a red and (in this case black rather than green) DC +/- pair come out.

    If you are suggesting that my reg/rec might be on it's way out (and that is why it's back feeding - ie. not all the way into the stator, but somehow to it's negative DC side internally), then I certainly will bear that in mind - it is 11 years and the best part of 40,000 miles old now.

    Thanks for your input - AC or otherwise ;o)

    Jx
    #64
  5. theantipaul

    theantipaul Reforming Neandertal Supporter

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    I like Luke's theory as in the trons are leaking from the R/R and therefore your need for an additional diode in your circuit.

    As opposed to your mention of the battery "back/discharge through the stator" that had me wondering what was going on, that could only be happening if your coil was grounded, leaking trons from a short, or wired in some way I haven't seen before. Not to kick a dead horse, just wondered why the diode and yeah, might want to pack a spare.

    BTW, I'll be at the BajaRally as well, look forward to seeing you and your build.
    #65
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  6. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Ah yes, I see what you (both) mean now - that it's not going all the way back to the stator as such (and I presumed), just as far as the reg/rec - that makes sense even to me ;o)

    Fortunately they are not expensive, so I might well replace it and take some measurements again - it would be nice if it were something as simple as that.

    Thanks both ;o)

    Jx
    #66
  7. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Just a quick update:

    Got my new replacement SDG seat recovered in traditional XR royal blue - I took a punt and it turned out to be a pretty good match to the OEM fork gaiters I thought?

    [​IMG]

    Apologies for the rather grainy photo... perhaps I need to decide whether to spend some money on a new smart-phone, or some gold wheels...

    Hmmmmm... I think the gold wheels will win ;o)

    Jx
    #67
  8. Cabrito

    Cabrito On the mend 76% Supporter

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    Go for the gold!
    #68
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  9. stteve

    stteve Been here awhile

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    Wow, looks really good! Were did you get the seat?


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    #69
  10. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    S... D... G?
    #70
  11. stteve

    stteve Been here awhile

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    Mmm, yeah i should be clearer. I know the seat is sdg, i meant the blue cover. I cant find an XR4 cover in blue on their site or anywhere else


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  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Stteve - yes, that was exactly the same issue I found - no one actually makes a complete seat or replacement cover for the 400R in blue - only in typical red, black or gripper etc.

    I ended up buying a regular SDG seat, and had it recovered by a motorcycle seat upholstery company here in the UK (R.K.Leighton if anyone is interested - they do a lot of classic bike restorations, and their work is excellent).

    They basically copied the pattern of the SDG cover (ie. a seam down each side of the top panel) meaning the sides were a single piece, as per the OEM cover. Fortunately the grain is also very close to the OEM cover too. To be honest, it didn't cost all that much more than buying an aftermarket gripper cover - and of course having it professionally fitted makes it all very easy in that regard.

    I'd suggest having a google and seeing if there is a similar company near you (or at least someone you can ship to) who could do something similar?

    Hope that clarifies things!

    Jenny x
    #72
  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Just a quick update:

    I took the bike to Wales for a couple of day's trail riding last week, and to properly shake down all the mods...

    I can report everything worked perfectly with two provisos:

    The first was the battery/charging... I left home with the battery fully changed, but after the first day, the lights started playing up, and flickering, as if the battery was low - even though the engine was running.

    Anyway to cut a long story short, I deduced that the problem has (and always has) been, that in effect the lights are running off the battery until the battery is drained, then they start to flicker (understandably).

    The problem it appears is that the output from the reg/rec isn't getting through the diode at higher revs (ie. more current) despite me buying what I understood was the correct capacity. The result is the lights sort of work fine at tick-over, but as soon as you rev the bike, it [presumably] overwhelms the diode, and then the only available power to the lights is from the now drained battery...

    Once I removed the diode, at least the feed from the reg/rec could go directly to the lights when the engine was running, and normal service was resumed.

    However, that still leaves the issue of the battery ultimately discharging if left for more than a couple of days connected - so it would appear that perhaps the reg/rec is on it's way out as TAP suggested above... therefore I've ordered a replacement that should arrive in the next couple of days, and will report back - it would certainly be nice to get this sorted!

    The other issue which wasn't a huge problem, but still something I wanted to address was the position of the navigation gear on the bars.

    Originally I had a custom 12mm T-bar made up to mount the roadbook plate directly to the handle-bar clamps - it was very compact and neat, and kept all the wiring (and fuse block) bundled behind the headlight cowl.

    However, in an ideal world - and especially when standing - I consider the instruments are a little too far out of line-of-sight to avoid having to rock back and forth and glance further down than I would like. Of course it was always going to be a bit of a compromise having them in that position - primarily as I wanted to keep the weight of the navigation gear directly over the bars rather than hanging forward off the front and over the headlight you see...

    Anyway, I took the decision to try one of the RMS (Rally Management Services) mounting brackets, that clamp around the handlebars either side of the riser, and position the T bar more forward and typically above the headlight cowl:

    [​IMG]

    Because I didn't want to cut the headlight cowl and have the clamps running directly forward - this does mean the instruments are a little higher than before, but they are also a little further forward which was the intention, and I'm looking forward to giving the bike a run with this new set-up... hopefully it will offer an improvement over the previous position, while not making the front of the bike look too ungainly:

    [​IMG]
    photo. easy access to fuse block now, although I will fabricate a short trim panel to bolt to the brackets either side, offering dust, rain and rock protection.

    The nicest thing about this revision is that the wiring is now a lot neater, not as bundled, and offers much easier access to everything behind the cowl, for any servicing and field-repairs.

    In addition, there is actually now space below the Nav plate to stow my medical kit (directly above the bar clamps), while I'll also be fitting a tail bag for tools and bodge-it spares, meaning the only thing I'll need on my person is a camel-bak - making things more comfortable and minimising any additional injuries in the [inevitable] event of a fall...


    The other little job at the weekend was to replace my mix-and-match fuel line assembly with some heavy duty hose and crimp-clips.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My rally tool kit will include a spare QR connector, which also allows you to easily drain fuel from either tank as required - either to get the last little bit out of the rear tank which is an inch or so below the float bowl hight, or to share some spare gas with anyone who has run out (I did this both ways during last year's event - ran out myself, and then a couple of days later was able to pay it forward to a fellow competitor who'd run out a few kms before the end of the stage).

    For info. I used 1/4" internal diameter braided hose, and 6mm fittings on the whole - although the hose has enough flexibility to fit over the slightly larger OEM petcock and Carb inlet pipes - result!

    So, I'm just waiting on that new Reg/Rec plus the retro tail bag to arrive from Thailand (in matching XR blue of course), then the bike really is good to go I feel.

    I've also ordered spare air-filters (one per day), oil filters (enough to change the oil each evening if needs be) and brake pads etc. for my spares box.

    Still fancy some nice new gold wheels mind you!

    More soon!

    Jenny xx

    ps. I'm delighted to announce that we've already filled the initial container for the Baja rally this year with 20 European riders/bikes (the vast majority from the UK and Ireland I might add). As such, the event organisation have now commissioned a second container for a further 8-20 bikes, and already three of those slots have been filled!

    If anyone from Europe is contemplating this event this year - do sign up, it's going to be awesome!!!
    #73
  14. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Nì7

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    #74
  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    So to follow up from post #73 above - the new reg/rec arrived, and so far it appears all is well - the battery has been connected for the past five days with no discernible loss of power (I forgot to check it with a meter, but it would typically be stone-dead by now with the old reg/rec in place) - so fingers crossed that Luke and TAPaul were right, and it was just the age'd reg/rec that was failing and allowing a short circuit to drain the battery...

    The new installation does away with that diode, and all would appear to be well!

    [​IMG]
    photo.This is the RR122 version - larger than the RR120 I had fitted before (max 75w) and with cooling fins. Custom bracket made to mount it in the OEM position under the tank, with a rubber pad from the OEM regulator cut down to fit. Hopefully this set-up will last at least 13 years too like the old one did! ;o)

    I also took the opportunity to simplify the wiring loom I'd created to take power to the battery and back to the rest of the loom.

    You can't see it in the photo below of course, but previously I had two wires run from the reg/rec output back to the battery under the seat, then another pair of wires take the + feed back and forth to a master switch on the bars, before two wires took the switched power back from under the seat to the lighting loom connection near the reg/rec under the tank.

    It was a reasonable system, and meant I didn't need to remove the tank if I wanted to eliminate the battery and master switch and just run the output from the reg/rec directly into the lighting loom - I'd just have to swap between a couple of bullet connectors under the seat...

    However, I realised that actually I could save a lot of wire by simply running the output of the reg/rec back (and forth) to the battery using a twin core wire (essentially piggy-backing it on the output of the reg/rec, in the same way as the original capacitor did), and instead connect a much shorter length of wire to the master switch on the bars from under the tank, where the + feed would otherwise go directly into the lighting loom.

    I've kept the bullet connectors in the correct orientation so that in the event of a battery or master switch failure, I can simply connect the output of the reg/rec directly to the lighting loom in the same way as I had the bike wired previously - while at the same time saving a good few meters of wire (and valuable ounces no doubt ;o)

    [​IMG]
    photo. All the bullet connections between the battery, master-switch and lighting loom are protected inside this length of mountain bike inner tube.

    And finally, all that there is under the seat now is the feed and fuse to the Baja Designs NiCad battery:

    [​IMG]

    ...together with the connectors for the tail light and brake-light switches in another length of inner tube of course.

    Nice and simple!


    Tool Time

    I was also pleased to receive my retro 80's XR style tool pouch - in double quick time from Thailand:

    [​IMG]

    I have to say, it seems very nicely made, and the colour is almost spot on (perhaps just a shade darker than my seat and fork gaiters). It also offers plenty of capacity (far more than my previous option of a Kriega Kube 1 bag, which I can also recommend as a compact fender/tail-pack). The shipping was fast and customs free too - nice.

    So, deciding to mount the bag in the traditional position (albeit behind the rear tank), meant I could trim some of the overhang of the Polisport straight fender, which I always felt was a bit long:

    [​IMG]

    It did mean repositioning the previous tail light mounting holes (which I never like to do), but at least the bag covers them all once fitted:

    [​IMG]
    photo. I had to drill the holes in this alternate position, as they lined up with the DRC Anato tail-lamp unit below the fender...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Large (deep) enough for my compact Rally tool-roll - a selection of mainly 1/4" drive sockets and wrenches in a Kriega Stash wallet.

    With everything fitted, I think the trimmed rear-end looks pretty good?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also had a stainless steel plate cut to cover the back of the fuses:

    [​IMG]
    photo. Yes, I realise three of the M5 allen screws are missing - I need to go shopping tomorrow!

    ... which ought to make a handy spot to mount the Rally-Comp GPS aerial during the event - and/or a sticker or two perhaps?!

    So, it really is almost ready to go now!

    [​IMG]

    More soon - just as soon as I can afford those gold wheels eh?

    Jenny xx
    #75
  16. GoThere@50

    GoThere@50 2s to 4s to EV? 50 yrs.

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    If I had to venture a guess I'd say more of the old air cooled XRs have run Baja over the years than any other make & model of motorcycle to date. With good reason. A solid and very reliable design with minimal complexity. I'm a fan of the breed from way back. Back in the day I had a custom framed 540 (bored 500 XR) as well as a stock 500 that I dual sported all over Colorado. There is something to be said about those bikes. Compare them with modern water cooled digitally fuel injected computer controlled wonders at three times the price and they hold up well in the comparison IMHO. They are able to do almost as much with far less. I think market driven technology has blinded some to the value of simplicity in a long distance off road bike. This build shows your usual attention to detail and good component choice. Thanks for sharing. The electrical modifications should be helpful to many. As far Baja, nothing less than 3rd in class will be considered acceptable. :D
    #76
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  17. Jeff B

    Jeff B Socially Awkward

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    :wave Hi Jenny, Been enjoying this thread and wish you the best at Baja this year.

    Quick question. On your recent engine refresh [or at any time] did you keep the auto decompression mechanism?

    I pressed mine off the cam and brazed up the oil feed holes. I did it so I could find TDC compression when kick-starting. I now use the manual decompression lever.

    Was just wondering if maybe Yourself or others might on done the same, and any thoughts regarding.
    #77
  18. Jeff B

    Jeff B Socially Awkward

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    The other reason was so I can get an accurate compression test reading.

    Due to oil consumption, I recently rebuilt the top end of my XR4. After a couple of tanks of fuel I want to take a compression reading for a benchmark. With the auto decompression installed, I can't imagine how an accurate reading could be measured.

    If I understand how it works correctly, it will crack open that exhaust valve every time at the speed the cam will rotate while kicking the starter.

    I posted up my engine wrench report on the XR400 thread.
    #78
  19. stteve

    stteve Been here awhile

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    Nice, Jenny!


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  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Jeff - no, I kept the OEM camshaft with the auto decompressor, as I prefer it that way.

    In it's distant past I did fit a HotCam (as I recall) that didn't have the auto decompressor, but I found it pretty difficult to start that way so stumped-up for a replacement OEM cam and went back to stock...

    fwiw. I find that you can find TDC by kicking through gently, then lift your foot slightly and kick down, and it usually fires right up.

    I still have the manual decompressor override fitted too (typically for clearing the cylinder when you've dropped/flooded it), but have hooked that up to the short Hot-start lever on the CRF450 clutch-purch I use - it's far neater and stays out of the way as most of the time I don't need to use it - while the CRF clutch lever has a thicker pivot area so hopefully is less prone to breaking than the XR400/650R version.

    I've also fitted a snazzy pair of billet shorty levers (from the far east) - very good quality, but only available for the CRF these days...

    Hope that helps!

    Jenny x
    #80