Used YZ 400/426?

So after a 8+ year hiatus from riding/racing mx, I have decided that I want to get back into the sport and a yammy 4 stroke is the way to go. I've been looking primarily at the used 400s and 426s due to budgetary constraints.

My question is: What should I be looking for when I go to check these bikes out? Other then the condition, obvious care that was taken, the routine maintenance schedule and any/all replacement parts/upgrades, what should I be looking for? I'm thinking more along the lines of valve adjustments, cam wear and top and bottom end condition (I think). :D Are there any sure signs of problems that may lay ahead? Having ridden 2 smokes exclusively before, I'm kinda new to the 4 stroke thing and I would hate to pick up a bike I think I found a great deal on only to have hundreds of dollars of repairs within a month.

Also, I have seen prices vary on the 400s greatly, from all the way down to $1500 up to $3000 - what's the deal here? Is there a such thing as a good deal or am I going to get what I pay for?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Obvious things would be the fork seals (leaking?), sprockets (worn), tires (worn), fuel lines (cracked, leaking, worn), brakes (pads worn), air filter (dirty, worn) and then the oh so present non obvious........valve clearence (in spec or not), cams (worn, aftermarket?), clutch (depending on the year may propose a threat), spark plug (fouled?, why?). :D

This should keep you busy for a while. Research is the key. Local shops can check all of these things for a charge of course, roughly a couple hours of shop time. (typically 160 bucks) Or if you know someone that can recognize crap from a cadillac, you'll be in good shape. This forum has helped me on several topics. Good luck! :D

Oh yeah, look out for the adds that say..."never been raced"....I love that one!

Cheers!

Well, all else being equal I would avoid the '00 model year, there were some fairly common problems w/ the clutch and counter-balancer gear. Plus the jetting, front brake, and clutch were all 100% improved for '01.

Would I rather have a '99 than an '00? A tougher question, that would depend on price and condition.

These bikes were so popular you should be able to find a good deal on a bike that is not worn out. Just shop around and you should be able to locate a keeper.

My general advice would be to try, try, try and ignore what the plastic looks like. Pay more attention to wear on the frame (keeping in mind that a lot of guys repaint, the factory paint is very tough and most secondhand paint jobs are fairly easy to spot), kickstarter (my favorite "tell") and clutch cover, for example. Take a peek at the engine cradle/down tubes, a heavily raced or ridden bike will have some big dings here.

Hope this helps. Come back when you want to learn how to start it. :D

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