The "Fat Hippo" Utility Bike Build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by XR4EVER, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. brownvv

    brownvv Been here awhile

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    Dude I love this build. I bet that tank would polish up pretty well. Unfortunately i have quite a bit of experience salvaging oxidized and spray painted plastics. Not all plastics buff out well but that one looks like it will. I have tried every method mentioned online and this is what works best for me...
    First I wet sand the tank to get rid of the bulk of the oxidation. Then I finish it with soft scrub on something like a mild scotch bright pad. The soft scrub is like a mild rubbing compound. Then i wipe it down with mop and glow to put some shine back into the plastic. You might be able to get the entire tank back to that nice green in. The middle where the sticker was peeled off
    Screenshot_20180804-041116_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20180804-041233_Chrome.jpg
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  2. XR4EVER

    XR4EVER 919 excuses to ride!

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    I hope you're right, but I'm not very optimistic. The 90% that is sun-bleached is translucent to the point of being able to see fuel levels, and the bright part is very opaque. On inconspicuous spots where I have tried scraping the surface with a blade, there really is no difference no matter how deep you go.

    I'm sure I'd be the most hated man in America if I painted the plastics, but I'm going to have to do something. I really hate the green.
  3. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®℗

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    Your imagination.
    What color were you thinking?

    There should be plenty of early YZ/IT tanks if yellow or blue are more your thing. Honda etc if that's more to your liking.

    Or, just make your own tank out of ali'.


    IT200 tank.

    [​IMG]
  4. Rutherford

    Rutherford Save Yourself

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    Color me impressed...(again!) :bow
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  5. XR4EVER

    XR4EVER 919 excuses to ride!

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    Maybe gray? Like a hippo? :clap

    Don't forget I'm on a super-tight budget; if it's not necessary, it's not happening if a new tank costs more than a can of plastic paint.
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  6. XR4EVER

    XR4EVER 919 excuses to ride!

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    I'm back. It let me sit twice on the mountain; once I had to push it 1/2 mile to a steep enough downhill section to bump start it. Not easy when it's tipping 370# and the tires have like an 80% rolling resistance.

    First time it was flooded because I don't think the choke is seating all the way down, and the second time the plug fouled after a long downhill section collected too much oil into the cylinder and wasn't running hot enough to burn it off. This thing is definitely is in need of a rebuild, but that's a winter project.

    I have noticed a strange mannerism of the shaft drive. If using compression braking down a rocky hill, every time the tire loses traction by skipping over a big rock, you hear and feel the slop in all the driveline gears and splines. Just an observation...
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  7. brownvv

    brownvv Been here awhile

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    If scrapping the tank with a blade doesn't change the color it's a lost cause...
  8. mentolio

    mentolio Adventurer

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    Wouldn't be the "same" green, but if you have a big enough turkey fryer or just a big pot over a heat source) you might be able to stain that tank green-or at least all one color-using Rit dye. Just find a pot that the whole tank will fit in (submerged), fill the pot with water, add Rit dye (two or three packs, I would expect. The stuff is available at most supermarkets), and heat on low heat (150 to 180-ish degrees?). Submerge tank, and monitor for an hour or so. The key is to make the water hot, but not hot enough to soften the tank overmuch. Check progress every few minutes, when it is the color you want (or at least uniform), remove, rinse, re-install...might work really well....or not at all. Could be worth the attempt. If not, I have an orange-ish Honda XL 600 tank you can try.
    16VGTIDave likes this.
  9. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

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    If Roadkill ever did an episode with motorcycles, this would be in it.
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  10. XR4EVER

    XR4EVER 919 excuses to ride!

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    My time on this is getting reduced; "we" decided to start the renovation on our downstairs.

    I managed to get the seat re-covered. Chalk that up as something I never want to do again.

    The original foam was a mess. Anywhere the old cover was torn, the foam was worn and sun damaged.

    [​IMG]

    I blended it smooth and rounded the corners with an angled die grinder with a scotch brite disc. Quad seats have square corners on the foam that aren't designed to be comfortable in a feet-down position. I was getting some chaffing on my inner thighs. TMI?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I ordered the cover from "gumtwo" on eBay for $32 shipped from Montana. I'm amazed at the quality. Excellent stretchy fabric, double stitched... and available in hippo color!

    [​IMG]
  11. 4doora

    4doora Moped guy

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    This thing looks likea blast. Awesome work!

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
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  12. Tanshanomi

    Tanshanomi Your Favorite Uncle

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    It sounds like all the issues are with worn-out stock parts, not your custom fabrication. That can all be easily remedied.
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  13. GR0NK

    GR0NK Got some screws loose!

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    And that's where the dilemma sets in. I'm not sure if XR4EVER is the same way but when I build something from the parts pile, I am in no mood to buy something new for it that might represent 20% or more of the total value I attribute to the build.



    Sean :-)
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  14. XR4EVER

    XR4EVER 919 excuses to ride!

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    I had that mental dilemma up until about a month ago. Now that I've ridden it and it feels like a bike I could acually not only live with, but love, I'm ok with dumping some extra time and money into it.

    My wife was having issues with it too, until I explained to her that she... "perchased a brand new bike 2 years ago. I'll probably never be able to buy a new bike. I don't have a job that creates a ton of income. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let me build this bike, I will stop begging for a new bike."

    :clap
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  15. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

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    Watching your videos of the Hippo in action, I'm baffled that you were doing some of this stufd on an XR400. I had one of those years ago, and it was not the best machine for tight single track... Or maybe I'm a bad trail rider... Or both...

    Great build, keep making it better!!
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  16. XR4EVER

    XR4EVER 919 excuses to ride!

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    I love the XR. It's frame and suspension definitely shows it's age at times, but the engine is second to none in torque, reliability, longevity and ridability. I was on it for 11 hours straight a few weeks ago through 75 miles of extremely difficult ST, and (aside from the carpel tunnel) I felt better on it at 5pm than I did at 6am. I'm sure there is a better bike out there for each section of trail, but overall, I'll stick with the XR.

    A section of trail from a few weeks ago in MT:


    Honestly, if I was given the go-ahead for a new bike, I'd take the money and buy an '05+ 400ex quad and swap in its engine for e-start, wider ratio trans, and reverse!
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  17. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

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    Okay, I'm now leaning toward it was my fault I couldn't handle that bike on the trails. You seem to do fine :rofl
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  18. PaulRS

    PaulRS Dutch fool

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    Ok, I can see myself walk there, just.
    But riding a bike.........:yikes

    Paul.
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  19. Rutherford

    Rutherford Save Yourself

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    Holy rockslide Batman! Are you training for Erzberg? :knary
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  20. shinyribs

    shinyribs doesn't care

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    This sums up XR4's perfectly! Stellar engine in a chassis that makes you work for it. I love my XR4. If someone would stick that engine in a modern chassis it would be unbeatable.

    Love your work with the hippo. The head cover on this engine is obviously from the older XL engines. I have a XL500S I'm currently rebuilding/modifiying. Seeing this sort of " modern" XL engine with a reverse has me wondering if there are any options for me to add a reverse to my bike. Were there ever any 500cc versions of this quad?

    Kinda feel like I just hijacked your thread for my own intentions. Wasn't my intent! I found this thread a couple days ago on my lunch break and just finished reading through it all just now. Awesome work,man. You should be proud!
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