Possible engine failure troubleshooting questions


10 replies to this topic
  • IndyHooligan

Posted April 24, 2014 - 09:24 PM

#1

Hello all,

 

Apologies as I have made my 2000 WR400 street legal without updates here (been waiting to end school) and have been riding highways and streets plenty with no apparent problems, mainly short trips.  IN LOVE with the bike.

 

I have been running controversial Shell Rotella T in it.  I had been keeping an eye on this and it looked fine.  A couple weeks go by and I don't check.  I said "Hey after this ride this next weekend I'm gonna change it anyway,literally 4/25/14."  I've put maybe 1000 miles on it since I first put the Shell in.

 

So today I am going about 70 on the freeway and the rear wheel locks up.  I nearly lost my life and several motorists must have had to check their pants as it was rush hour and they were tailgating me.  I'd never been more scared, or lucky.  The bike is fine and so am I, except for this.

 

I got my WR to the side of the highway to check it.  When I pull the clutch lever in, I can roll it.  There is no neutral right now.  If I try to move the kickstarter slowly, the bike WILL move forward.  My friend and I were able to load it and get it home by holding clutch lever in.

 

We put some oil in as it was bone dry.  Again, the bike would move if I tried to use the kickstarter/decomp but I can't try to start it if it rolls off the kickstand.  

 

I'm afraid the engine is blown and I'll have to start over.  Where do I begin to troubleshoot?  I feel ridiculous even asking after my mistake. Thanks..



  • condor74

Posted April 24, 2014 - 09:39 PM

#2

I am afraid you are going to have to split the case. It sounds like something in the gear box let go. Even if somehow the engine side survived the lack of oil, I am sure there is some wear. Starting it at this point will do no good other than potentially shooting parts out of the bottom end. I suggest you take it apart and rebuild and repair what ever broke and chalk it up as a learning experience. Don't beet yourself up too bad. We all have had them at some point.

  • runnybunny

Posted April 24, 2014 - 09:52 PM

#3

What condor said. You're going to have to split the cases and find the full extent of the damage. Hopefully it's limited to the gearbox. Get the engine on the table and start pulling at apart so you can order your parts and get back on the road.

Also as condor said, don't beat yourself up about it. I've done it too. Now you know :)

  • condor74

Posted April 24, 2014 - 10:31 PM

#4

Just thinking out loud here but I don't think it would be that hard to wire up an oil pressure light. The problem with dirt bikes is not that they can't go for long distances on the oil. The problem is they do not carry very much oil in the engine. If you are burning or leaking a little oil, it doesn't take long to run out. I know you know this now but get in the habit of checking the oil before every ride.

  • Krannie McKranface

Posted April 24, 2014 - 10:55 PM

#5

Just change it every 10-25 hours, and check it after every ride.

 

 

An oil light won't work on the low pressure pump systems in off road bikes.

 

You probably can't get it into neutral because the piston is seized in the bore.

 

I'll bet your crank and tranny are fine.



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  • IndyHooligan

Posted April 25, 2014 - 11:09 AM

#6

Thanks everyone.  So all that said, might it be cheaper to buy a newer WR?  I researched a bottom build and top-  Seems like it could cost over $2k, which is more than I paid for it.  So far the maximum level of my experience is rebuilding some carbs. My friend has offered to help but I wonder if this is a total loss, or how I could get it going again for cheaper?  Everything else on the bike is in great shape, including my new Tusk kit.


Edited by IndyHooligan, April 25, 2014 - 11:10 AM.


  • runnybunny

Posted April 25, 2014 - 11:32 AM

#7

Unless your bike is a giant piece of garbage I'd go for the rebuild. Tear it apart at the least and see if it's worth it ones you can price out parts. You just don't know yet what it'll need.

If you fix it yourself then you'll know it's good. Pick up a different one and it's a toss-up. If you can take apart a carb and put it back together then you can do a engine. Get a manual and you're golden IMO.

  • mch

Posted April 25, 2014 - 11:40 AM

#8

Thanks everyone.  So all that said, might it be cheaper to buy a newer WR?  I researched a bottom build and top-  Seems like it could cost over $2k, which is more than I paid for it.  So far the maximum level of my experience is rebuilding some carbs. My friend has offered to help but I wonder if this is a total loss, or how I could get it going again for cheaper?  Everything else on the bike is in great shape, including my new Tusk kit.

 

It won't cost anything to to take it apart, until perhaps splitting the case.  I believe the tool for this is about $65 or you can get the crank installer / case splitter for around $120 (Tusk).  One of the 1st things I ever did on a dirt bike was rebuild an entire motor and I had no idea what I was doing.  I got a bike that was like 2 years old (1987 KX250) with a completely blown motor.  I had a friend help me split the case, and then took it to a shop to install the connecting rod on the crank and zip it all back up (I installed the main bearings).  With the tools readily available, there is no reason to pay someone else to do it when you can buy the tool yourself.  You will be able to see if the cylinder is damaged, etc. once you break it down. 


Edited by mch, April 25, 2014 - 11:42 AM.


  • condor74

Posted April 25, 2014 - 12:29 PM

#9

I would recommend getting a manual and carefully taking it apart.  Would be better if you had a buddy who has some experience to give you a hand.  Most of the people here on TT are pretty good about guiding people through these rebuilds.  I remember a thread on here a few years back where a guy with an XR400, I believe had a motor go south and was ready to throw in the towel.  Someone from Thumpertalk who was local to the guy went and helped him rebuild it completely.  There is lots of good will here. 



  • IndyHooligan

Posted May 09, 2014 - 10:56 AM

#10

Thanks everyone again,

 

I have read elsewhere that its possible to move up to a 426 displacement with my stock setup. I have contacted Crankworks (AZ) and Millenium Tech (WI) to see if they can help me with this.  I don't have the cases split yet.  My friend is hoping it's just a bearing.  That said, I think if I'm going to open it all up, wouldn't it be nice to upgrade it?  What all would I need?



  • Jedmeister

Posted May 11, 2014 - 03:05 PM

#11

Hey indyhooligan,
I've just done what you're talking about. 5 months back I found metal in the oil filter after forth gears started making a nasty noise. I pulled the engine out and stripped it down. As I love the bike and had spent money replacing swing arm/ shock bearings etc, I decided to do the full rebuild with upgrade to 426. When I priced it up, was going to cost about $12 more to go 426 instead of 400. I got new forth gears and replaced the crank/rod/piston/cylinder/main bearings/seals/gaskets etc.
got it all back together last weekend and it fired up 2nd kick! I'm stoked with the result. Definitely has more power than old 400!
If you've got any specific q's I'd be happy to help.
I used oem parts from boats.net and partzilla. Cost me about $1500 shipped to Australia.




 
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