Author Topic: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)  (Read 1638 times)

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Offline xj35s

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1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« on: January 02, 2017, 10:12:40 AM »
I posted this picture in the motorcycle trekking thread. I'm going to start this thread with it. The second picture will show why.



What have I done? Well it's a progress that will last a few months for sure



After pulling the rear wheel to replace the tire I found the brake shoes had fallen off the backing plate. I had suspicions that the pads were wore down and bought replacements. Good thing too. I had to clean the bore and shaft of the pivot. It was tight and corroded. I put 2000 grit in a slotted dowel in my drill and honed the bore. then hand sanded the shaft. Added a little grease and all good for another 45 years!




With the wheel off I decided to remove and clean the rear fender. I found the two metal support brackets to be very rusted. I didn't want to do a restore on this but I couldn't put it back together with that much rust.

Evapo-rust is an amazing product. 10 hours soaking and the rust was gone. You can see some pitting from the rust damage but there is no rust to return. I gave it a quick paint from left over purple that we used on the hillbilly hotrod. These two parts are not easily seen once it's back together. I just wanted it to be protected from future rusting.




Now The new tire and brakes are done. once the paint dries the fender will go back together along with the wheel.




With anything that's 45 years old there will be things unsuspected popping up. Again I sort of new before starting there was an issue. It would stall in water/puddles. This is going to be an expensive fix but thankfully still available as most parts are not. The spark plug wire is separated from the coil right at the coil body. It might be hard to decipher from this close up. Yeah there's a lot of cleaning to do too.




All the wiring looks good. The lights all work. The next real big deal is the reason for this whole thing starting in the first place. The head is leaking some oil and compression at the gasket. I know it was off once before because they used some sort of sealer on it. That should never happen, it always needs to be replaced. I have all the gaskets and "O" rings to rebuild the head and put it back on.

Knowing it was apart once, I am debating pulling the cylinder. It would involve removing the engine from the frame. I do have another piston with rings and the cylinder it came from. connecting rod and crank too.

I strongly believe the head gasket to be the main problem. It just ran too good before. It has always started on the first or second kick. Very little smoke, which I think is the valve guides and I will be replacing those too while rebuilding the head. I think I'll do the head then do a compression check. If it's low I can pull the engine and do a more thorough cleaning of that area.

It's an easy bike to work on and I'm so close to a full tear down I should probably take the time to do a full rebuild. I don't say restore because most restored bikes are trailer queens. This one is going to be ridden hard for another 45 years or the parts and worn beyond usage.
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 11:08:08 AM »
The first thing that caught my eye was the airplanes in the first pic.  Heck, you could start  topic on just those.  Really looking forward to seeing your progress on the bike.  I have a friend that is really into the old Hondas.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 12:22:15 PM »
I did a long time ago. Changed a lot of planes since then.

http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=8217.0

Keep original paint with natural wear and patina or repaint to a royal blue?
i kind of think a paint job would make it less identifiable as a collectable XL250. This one was built in January 1972. First year and first month of production. serial ends in 1948. Is it the almost 2000th bike built?
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 02:26:31 PM »
I'd get it painted (professionally) to as near original specs as possible.
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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2017, 04:23:42 PM »
That's going to be a great bike. I raced 250's back in the late 70's I was a Suzuki man though. Got beat by a few Hondas in my time.

Creek
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2017, 06:37:17 PM »
Boy oh boy that is going to be slick when it is done.  I started my motorcycle life with a 1961 Honda and over the years have had a bunch of neat bikes.  I would like to have a couple of the old ones back but content myself today with a KDX and a street cruiser.  I hope you keep posting about this XJ.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 10:40:23 AM »
Thanks, all my miles stones in life are on this site. The new house, our new colt 4 years ago. dogs, Sort of my diary online. Have any of you ever gone back through your threads and notice all the changes you've gone through? Kind of cool.

My first bike ever was a Suzuki MT50. Little fat knobby mini bike with 3 gears and no clutch. Thing would go anywhere. How many years did you race? Any significant inuries from it?

As original It would surely need to be chained up solid at stores or parks.
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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 05:28:16 PM »
I raced RM 250's. Killed 3. Broke an ankle. 5 fingers at one time. both my collar bones at one time, dislocated my shoulder. broke a leg and an arm. My mother put an end to the madness when I crashed into my neighbors basement wall. Totaled bike #3 and my folks had to have the wall repaired on their homeowners insurance.

I look back at my posting and am amazed at the changes in my life too. Lots of good stuff I've shared. Hope to be able to keep doing it too.

I like that bike. I itch all the time for another. Have for 30 plus years. Getting out of a chair reminds me I don't need one.

Creek 
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 06:56:30 PM »
Raced SX and MX until I was 45.  We had a class for old guys over 40 so you didn't have to race the kids.  Started out on Honda but went to Yamaha soon after.  Two strokes were the thing then and my 1988 YZ250 was the best bike I ever rode and still is.  My 1991 YZ was probably just as good but I was out of shape that year and still hurting from a variety of injuries.  Over time I broke my back, ribs, fingers, my left hand, and my foot.  Knees ripped up a couple or more times, concussions at least four times.  It was fun in the doing but hell afterwards.  I still limp.

My mind still tries to write checks my body can't cash.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2017, 09:44:59 AM »
I did have a yz once for a  very short time. I think it was a 100 or a 125. All I remember was how high I could jump it and how soft it landed. I rode it on the dairy farm and we had mounds of dirt piles from scrapping the muddy pasture up to dry out. The cows would trample the dirt piles so they were very smooth. Man I could have jumped the barn if I had enough speed.

Before I got real good at riding it the CDI burned out and I couldn't afford to fix it. Don't know what I ever did with it either.

Another cool bike I owned was a 1975 Harley Davidson SX125. It was built by AMF I believe round the time Harley bailed them out or bought them out. Great little bike but priceless. As in no available parts and very few to be found in the U.S.A. 

I left it and a Honda cx500 there when I quit until I could come back and move them as soon as I found a place for them. I left on good terms but they auctioned off everything including my two bikes and disappeared.

I didn't have papers on either of them yet. I'm pretty sure the Harley ended up in good hands. I saw one at the local bike show and I'm pretty sure it was the same bike with a little clean up done.


This is what it looked like exactly.

pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2017, 10:46:26 AM »
I remember the early Harley bikes made by Aermacchi in Italy.  Four strokes.  One guy in our neighborhood had one.  Later the bikes made in Italy were two strokes. 

During the AMF years things were really bad at Harley.  A group of Harley execs led by Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson bought the brand from AMF and got it going good again. 
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2017, 05:26:32 PM »
1974 thru 1978. Interesting. Buell as well. Never been a big fan of Harley.

I gotta share this picture. Me at 16 on my first street legal vehicle. I only had a motorcycle license. It's a 1974 Kawasaki S1 250. Three cylinder 2 stroke. It got about 250 miles per tank.

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2017, 05:50:34 PM »
That's a good picture to have, I have very few from my youth. Very cool man!

 :cheers:

Creek
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2017, 07:37:40 PM »
It sure is.  Somewhere I have one of me sitting on my first Honda 50.  I was 14.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2017, 11:46:36 AM »

I have the rear end back together and the front and done as well. The front brakes were fine. Now onto the head gasket...



I just found this cool fact. this would make mine a one of a kind I'm sure. Light guards and crash bars. olive drab? HMMMMM.

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2017, 01:05:06 PM »
Hell, that's reason enough to get it riding. I bet you're gonna love it. Can you still fit in them jeans you were wearing in you pic? I'm looking forward to your "Riding the XL250" video post.

Creek
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Offline wolfy

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2017, 01:13:12 PM »
Xj, I've seen some really cool pictures of various bikes like your 250 and my TW200 all decked out in military-style garb.......I say, "Go for it!"   :banana: :thumbsup:
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2017, 02:21:43 PM »
Hell, that's reason enough to get it riding. I bet you're gonna love it. Can you still fit in them jeans you were wearing in you pic? I'm looking forward to your "Riding the XL250" video post.

Creek

HA!! No chance. I was 125 lbs and a size 29 waist all through school. I'm a 36" now almost 200lbs. I was a poor starving kid. Anyone else eat mayonnaise sandwiches, Or have a teaspoon of peanut butter for a sack?

Maybe a full tacticool all black with panniers ?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2017, 04:04:20 PM »
Tactical black?  Heavens NO!  I like the retro olive drab bikes with the stenciled military markings of the WWII era.  Those babies are the REALLY cool head-turners in my fully-jaded opinion. :drool:
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Offline Unknown

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2017, 10:49:29 PM »
Such quandaries? Can you fab a side car? Some kind of flecktarn orange and grey camo, with a rising sun on the outboard?

Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2017, 04:44:37 PM »
I'm not sure why anyone pulled the head off originally. It seems everything is in excellent shape. Unless maybe they damaged the original head and had to replace it. Stripped the plug threads maybe?

Whatever the reason you can never reuse a head gasket and permatex doesn't seal them...

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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2017, 04:51:41 PM »
If you look at the front cooling fin on the cylinder and the head you can see all the blow by oil and crud. I have it all cleaned up and ready to go back together now. I still have to lower the piston and check the cylinder before I button it up just for curiosity sake. Yes, I'm ruining the carpet in the boy's room. I need a garage!!!!!


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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2017, 02:18:39 PM »
Wow!! It doesn't even have any sign of a ridge at the top. It's the first cylinder I've ever seen without one. Can't wait to get it all buttoned up.

I need to get a book. The head has 8 nuts four on top and four on the bottom. I don't know the proper tightening sequence.

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Offline pap11y

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2017, 02:38:59 PM »
Loving this thread. I have a 600 Monster that needs this treatment.

I always loved the XL series.

I'm looking forward to your updates :)

Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2017, 03:14:25 PM »
Thanks. Post  picture or two. I'd love to see it. Dusty dirty and covered in cobb webs is cool too.

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2017, 05:01:51 PM »
I've tighten a few heads in my time with no specs. I've used an electronic torque wrench for some time now and I don't know bikes. In cars I use specs that fairly universal for the large screws and tighten small ones tight by hand. Tighten in stages and use a pattern to tighten evenly across/around the head. I'm sure you know what tight is. Hurry up, I'm itchen to see it run.

Creek
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2017, 05:22:13 PM »
Yeah, not a real big deal. there are four studs on the cylinder and two on the head. I guess tighten the top four in an x pattern then the front bottom nut then the back bottom nut and repeat until to spec.

I mentioned in the bike trekking thread that I wanted a bigger tank. Since the tank is off I'll build a JIG for mounting and clearance measurements. We talked about the army theme too. so...

How about this Wolfy?

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Offline wolfy

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2017, 06:01:23 PM »
About exactly the right color, but I hope you're not thinking about reproducing that rising sun 'meatball' on the tank.  :doh:   You're not considering  becoming a kamikaze biker are you? :lol:
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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2017, 06:03:22 PM »
That's what they make paint for wolfy! I love it.  :duel:

Creek
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 10:15:40 AM »
well, it is a jap scrap!

I didn't get past the gauges before posting that to be honest but didn't want to change it. I really have no use for the gauges. speedo and tach only.

Actually it's kind of morbid the more I think about it. Like they pulled a part off one of our planes to graft onto their bike. Being the two greens. 

Hmm, Back to the drawing board.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 10:21:15 AM by xj35s »
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2017, 03:27:35 PM »
One of those gauges was made by Mitsubishi so it is one of their planes that it came off of?????
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Offline wolfy

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2017, 04:02:13 PM »
At a maximum of 100 KPH, it wouldn't have been a very fast plane. :-\
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2017, 04:44:27 PM »
At a maximum of 100 KPH, it wouldn't have been a very fast plane. :-\

I saw that.  A Zero top end was about 270 kph so it isn't from one of those.  Maybe a another plane or may a car of some type. 
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2017, 08:19:56 PM »
I have the head off still. I'm trying to replace the valve seals. I don't have a proper valve spring compressor. The two I have won't work because the springs are deep in the aluminum.

I made my own by cutting a large notch out of an old socket and a C clamp. This compressed the spring fine but gave little room to install the keeper wedges. So, I hot glued some very small neodymium magnets to the end of a straw to use as a makeshift tweezers. I gotta tell ya, the magnet is the diameter of the swabs tube and very strong. I used another swab a a finger to help push the wedge in place.

I now have a dowel I am going to cut a notch into and bought a larger C clamp. Then I can install the wedges with my bare fingers. It'll be much easier on my eyes...






Easily supports a 3/4" washer. In this photo you can see a device I tried by cutting the center fork out and bolting two together. The forks remaining were not strong enough to compress the springs...





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Offline wolfy

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2017, 08:24:40 PM »
That's usin' the ol' bean! :thumbsup:     Where there's a will, there's a way. :cheers:
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2017, 05:18:05 PM »
I pulled the cylinder and bought what I needed to measure the piston and bore. I just couldn't button it back up without knowing what is going on inside. It ran good, yes, but the piston wiggled more than I was comfortable with. I'll know tomorrow. I have a clymer's repair manual now. Tons of good info.
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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2017, 05:33:03 PM »
You can wiggle the pistons in new cars that people screw up and we have to pull the heads. Piston to cylinder relationship generally is not an issue if you machine neither. Insure the ring end gap is correct and run with it. If it didn't have much ridge it's good. I bet that little piston was installed with a fair amount on clearance. Not sure there was a cnc back then.

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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2017, 04:38:41 AM »
I have been scratching my head. I know how to read dial calipers but could not figure out how it ran at .020 over the wear limit. My cousin is a machinist and visited on Saturday. I asked him about it and he too measured this. I got my other cylinder and we measured the bore on it and right in tolerance.

This led me to removing the piston from the spare engine and getting ready to install that piston and cylinder on my base. I decided to measure the pistons first, just to make sure which was in better shape. Lo and behold I had a .020 difference between the two!!!

Conclusion is, it was bored out and the piston and rings replaced. This explains why the cylinder and head were removed and why there was NO ridge at the cylinder top.

This also explains why the parts carb didn't run right on the bike. They must have rejjeted my carb. My bowl had a stripped drain screw in the bottom. I ended up just switching the float bowls.

I am beyond stoked that I have a fresh cylinder and piston/rings. I am going to button it all back up now. I'll get video of the first start. I'm betting it'll start on ONE KICK!!
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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2017, 04:26:41 PM »
That's good news. Glad you got it sorted out. Looking forward to seeing it in action.

Creek
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Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2017, 05:35:59 PM »
Whoa!! I'm glad I started this project early. I am going to summarize what I've done, found, and bought.

1. started backwards with new tires and tubes. New rear brake shoes, the fronts were in great shape.

2 pulled the head and cylinder for new gaskets found a .020" over bore. all new gaskets.

3. found the timing was way off and rigged a flashlight to go off at the point opening. lined it up perfect with the fire mark on the flywheel.

4 found the exhaust valve clearance was way too loose. the intakes were a little. Everything is now in spec.

5. new air filter element that was a factory original fit to my screen core.

6 pulled the left side cover and removed the clutch adjustment parts. Found one sliding part just about seized. removed it and cleaned the bore so it slides easily. removed all the gunk and reassembled.

7. pulled the clutch and double checked all the disks to be well within spec. Should have pulled the oil pump and cleaned and inspected. I will do an oil pressure check at start up. It's cool, you crack open one nut and in 12 seconds it should have oil seeping out at 1000 rpm.

8. New chain and master link.

9. Going to have the exhaust bead blasted for new weld in spark arrester and paint.

10. Total cost of parts maybe, $300.

11. left to do, Maybe. Weld a new larger capacity fuel tank and paint. build a rack system for Panniers and bag rack. Possibly upgrade the lights to 6 volt L.E.D. License for the road!!!!!!!!!!!
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2017, 06:02:13 PM »
 :thumbsup:  Glad it is working out well.  Good backroad bike when its done. 
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2017, 06:27:08 PM »
ALRIGHT! :thumbsup:   The B&B Off-road Biker Gang is growing! :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrea.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Online upthecreek

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2017, 06:53:01 PM »
Good news! Still waiting on the start up vid.  :cheers:

Creek
Axes Rock!

Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2017, 05:47:04 AM »
Me too. The left side cover gasket won't be here until Saturday. It's a quick install. I use a Ryobi impact to drive the screws in. Gently.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline xj35s

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2017, 11:44:11 AM »
Well, I went to fire it up today. Can't wait to take it for a spin. Problem is it isn't turning over. The clutch is disengaged. before it would not disengage. Grrr.

I got it out of the house. I'm looking at a vinyl wrap for the tank and fenders, and keep the original paint in tact.

One more week....I just finished laminate flooring in our dining room. Now we gotta do the living room!
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

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Re: 1972 Honda XL250 Freshen up(pic heavy)
« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2017, 04:53:05 PM »
OH yea! Floors are way better than motorcycles.

Creek
Axes Rock!