Just another DR350 Rescue / Transformation

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by vfrpilot, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. vfrpilot

    vfrpilot Stress Relief Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Decatur, Illinois
    I've debated on whether or not to post this build. There has been so many like it before, with all sorts of outcomes. This promises to be different than any other, mainly because I'm doing it only to fill my spare time this winter. Not building this to have an inexpensive dual sport, or to build a bike on a budget. Just thought I'd take an interesting old bike that has a huge following, and update and improve it where I can. So if you get bored with this and it's completely uninteresting, then I suppose that it will find its way to page 2, and I'll get the message. :hmmmmm

    Starting out, I'd have to relate this similarly to taking a trip to the dog pound. You walk in, see all the yippers wanting to go home with you, then you spy this forlorn Heinz over in the corner. He's dirty, hair's matted, laying down, and has the saddest face you could ever imagine. The future doesn't look good for this guy. So you do the deal, load him up and take him home. He's gonna survive.

    So, I get home from riding the Loose Nut in November. A buddy on the the Central IL board has posted that he would like to sell his '91 DR350S. I've known that he's had it for quite some time. It's been to Colorado a couple of times, spent many hours on the Hare Scrambles course, and also served as his wheelying commuter. It's fair to say that it hasn't had a cushy life. But he posted that it needed a head, cam, and cover to be back to it's glorious self. So I went over to check it out. ......... Did I mention anything about being forlorn, dirty, and the saddest thing that I've seen for awhile? I cut his asking price in half and still ended up giving more that I should have, but hey, what are friends for, right? Loaded it up with two tubs full of parts, three gas tanks, three front fenders, a tattered set of Wolfman bags, and several pieces from a previous basket case donor 350.

    I get home with my prize and get it unloaded. My wife (my biggest fan:nono) asks me what I intend on doing with this "hunk-o-junk". (Not the first time that she has referred to the bikes that I drag home as this) As is my normal reply, I told her that I got a heck of a deal, and that you have to see the potential, not the existing ugliness.:thumb She was very glad to know that I didn't pay extra for the dirt & oil.
    This is how it looked straight out of the truck:

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    So now the fun begins. :0-0
    #1
  2. mentolio

    mentolio Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    Oddometer:
    91
    I'll gladly watch, been looking for one of these. Maybe I'll get some good ideas from you for if I ever find one. Thanks for sharing this Adventure.
    #2
  3. brownvv

    brownvv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    933
    Location:
    colorado
    Is it sad that even in its current state, I can recognize mellephants bike? Poor thing. That's kinda sad he gave up on it. Good for you for fixing it
    #3
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  4. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    914
    Location:
    N California
    Following.
    #4
  5. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    653
    Location:
    The Big Mitten
    I've got 2 '90 dirt models (1 since new) and last year I picked up a '96 S model.
    Every time I pull one out, fire it up, and take it for a ride - I fall in love with them again.

    Last year I put '87 RM forks on a couple of them (1 '90 and the '96) - it's a 43mm cartridge fork, fully adjustable, cheap, used XR650L springs (.44).

    The second '90 I bought 11 years ago with original chain and tire for cheap.... bad head.
    My machinist buddy and I put a bronze bushing on the small end of the cam and fixed it right up!
    #5
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  6. vfrpilot

    vfrpilot Stress Relief Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Decatur, Illinois
    Now that's funny! Each one has it's own special markings don't they?

    I'll start with the known defects ......
    The cam journal was toast. Took the cam with it.

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    Rocker arms were junk too

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    Knowing this, I start looking for a head, valve cover, rockers, and cam. Definitely not good.

    Now to start digging in and seeing what I have to work with.
    Poor old girl, She's had a pretty long life thus far. 26,000 miles ain't bad for a DR

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    The ProTaper fat bars are straight, the RAM mount was just a little extra bling :D
    Time to get this stripped down to the frame.

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    Looking better already

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    Ok, Now to remove the side stand switch bracket, then get the frame to the powder coater.
    The frame is actually in pretty decent shape. No bends or breaks that I can find. The swing arm is good, nothing worn through, and plenty of grease and oil to go around.
    #6
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  7. brownvv

    brownvv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    933
    Location:
    colorado
    Still looking for a head? If I remember right, I have a manual compression release one that was in good shape but painted black
    #7
  8. brownvv

    brownvv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    933
    Location:
    colorado
    Or jeff@thequadshop had a whole running engine for 500 bucks in the flea market. Hard to beat that. It will be easier to start since its a 99
    #8
  9. William42

    William42 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    14,548
    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    :lurk
    #9
  10. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,094
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    looks like it has dirtbags mounts and that rear rack those couple of dudes were making here for a bit.

    thats a nice rear rack, i bought one straight away for my former dr350.
    #10
  11. fast1075

    fast1075 Fasterizer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    800
    Location:
    Flaw'da
    Is that a CL-450 on the other lift. Looks mint.
    #11
  12. plugeye

    plugeye dreamer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,986
    Location:
    Garland, Texas
    i'm in
    #12
  13. vfrpilot

    vfrpilot Stress Relief Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Decatur, Illinois
    Yes, that's a 73 CL450 on the lift. Still waiting on the refinishing of the tank and side panels for it to be complete. Complete restoration.

    Now for the engine situation ....... If I had been able to find a suitable matched head and valve cover initially, I would have considered it. However, I'm a little finicky about stuff like that. Because the cam is sandwiched between the two, they need to be a matched set (imo) so I opted for a new one.

    [​IMG]

    Found a stock manual decompression head...... aint it beautiful?
    Gonna have to replace the rockers, seals and cam, so why not go the whole nine yards while I'm there? New valves too :(
    While this is not the most economical way, It's how I sleep at night. Once into this, I've already decided that there will be no short cuts.
    As part of the deal on the bike, I got a new 84.4 piston, rings and wrist pin. At the time I thought that was a little bonus, but after much thought, and planning for what I want to build, I won't be using it. Planning on a bigger bore, but gonna stay with the stock case bore for the cylinder.
    If anybody would like any of these unused parts, speak up. They're just sitting on the shelf.
    So, off comes the head ........ Stock piston is scored pretty bad. Cylinder could likely be cleaned up and put another stock piston in but I'm going for 82mm bore making it a 363cc. Can use stock valves, slightly increase the size of carburetor, slightly larger head pipe, and hopefully make it a little more torquey.(is that a word).
    I pull the wrist pin and what do I find? Unfortunately more of the same

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    I think there was a significant oil starvation issue ..... :fpalm

    Well, it pays to have friends ........ Themastermike had contacted me when he found out that I bought this, and told me that he had a 350 dirt model bottom end, and that I could have it. So in an effort to keep from rebuilding the crank with a new rod, I took him up on it. (I still owe him supper at a nice joint)
    I drove down and picked up all the spare DR parts that he had, which included a perfect seat pan, engine side covers, a rear fender bar, couple of front fenders, and various other parts. (he tried to slip an orange KTM front fender in but I have a "no orange" policy in my garage):lol3
    I'll save more for later .......... but the cliffhanger is that it does indeed get worse. :2cry
    #13
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  14. William42

    William42 Long timer

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    Oct 16, 2008
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    14,548
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    Champaign, IL
    ... I have a "no orange" policy in my garage...

    :rofl
    #14
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  15. Slytheslayer

    Slytheslayer Ride or Die!!

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    794
    Location:
    Fort Lewis, WA
    I want one of these!! This looks like it will be fun!
    #15
  16. brownvv

    brownvv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    933
    Location:
    colorado
    So what upgrades are you planning on doing to it? Anything crazy?
    #16
  17. vfrpilot

    vfrpilot Stress Relief Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Decatur, Illinois
    :dirtdog patience ! Don't want to skip to the ending and ruin the drama.:D

    Nothing totally crazy, a few variations of some things that have been done before. Totally changing the front end...... DRZ 400 SM. Trail Tech Voyager instrumentation and headlight assy. Some cool Zeta hardware, wide pegs, low seat concepts seat, totally custom luggage racks, and a bunch more etcetera's.

    Now, Ive done it ........... nobody's gonna read any more until the last post, and then only to see a picture! :evil
    #17
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  18. vfrpilot

    vfrpilot Stress Relief Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Decatur, Illinois
    So I get the donor bottom end home and look it over closely (the rod end). It has some very light scratches, and honestly if I weren't already in this thing ass hole deep to a tall giraffe, I would probably use it. But the piston end of the rod is no place to cut a corner.

    :twitch is it too late to change the build to an XR600? :loco

    So I split the cases on two bottom ends. The best parts get to go in the rebuild and everything else is ......... parts.
    I thought it interesting that my engine and the donor engine were only 116 serial numbers different. Mine being the earlier.
    After opening up the original, I got ready to push the crank out of the left case half .......... :scratch well setting up the pusher was a waste of time, the crank practically fell out with the bearing attached. So the crank bearing on the left case was less than a press fit. :fpalm
    Split the case on the donor engine, and all the resistance that one expects was there.:jump
    So, with the exception of a few small parts, the only thing that will be used on the rebuild is the cylinder, and the kick start shaft. After seeing the cam, and the rod end, I'm certainly not using the stock oil pump.

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    Add to the list of new parts:
    Head / Valve cover
    Cam
    Cam Chain
    Valves
    Valve seals
    Springs & seats
    Rocker arms
    Cam Chain Guides
    Rod
    Rod Bearing / thrust waters / pin
    82mm piston kit
    All new case bearings

    Sent the Cylinder and crankshaft to Millennium Technologies to be bored / nicasil coated, and install the rod on the crank.
    I installed the rockers and compression release in the cover with new seals and plug washers.

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    New bearings installed, and waiting on a crank........

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    #18
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  19. Slytheslayer

    Slytheslayer Ride or Die!!

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    794
    Location:
    Fort Lewis, WA
    Looks good man. Slow progress is better than no progress...lol
    #19
  20. vfrpilot

    vfrpilot Stress Relief Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Decatur, Illinois
    Got the head put together

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    Did a little porting........nothing major, just cleaned it up a bit to help the flow

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    #20