New member with '85 XL600R

Hello, folks. I just picked up an '85 XL600R from a co-worker who is moving. The bike has not run in 15 years, so I have plenty of work ahead of me before I enjoy riding it. I have the Honda service manual, as well as the Clymer, but I have little engine repair experience (none, in fact). I don't mind getting my feet wet in this area, though. I am a fairly technical guy, and have nothing to lose with this bike.

Most likely reason for bike not running is the valve adjustment/timing since that was the last maintenance performed on it before it crapped out. The manual lists the steps fore removing the engine from the frame before it gets into the detail of valve adjustment. Do I have to get the engine out or can I wiggle my way around the frame? From my initial inspection I suspect that engine removal will be required. Any advice?

Thanks! I am glad to be joining the thumper community. I almost did when my wife got a Suzuki Savage LS650, but that bike runs fine, so I had little need for advice. With the Honda, I suspect I will frequent this site a lot more :D

I am quite sure you can check/adjust the valves with the motor in the frame. Check the valves for clearance with the motor at TDC. It may have been something else that crapped out like carb problems. If it didnt have carb problems 15 years ago it does now. you should tear down the carb and give everything a good cleaning, including pulling the jets and cleaning them. Also change the oil and filter. You may want to go with a lighter oil until things get worked back in. (10w-30) I am no expert, but I hope this gives you a direction. :D

Thanks, mickey! I finally had some uninterrupted time last night to read Clymer's and found the section where valve adjustment is described without taking the head cover off. Unfortunately, if valve adjustment is OK, and the cam is at fault, I will have to pop that cover off.

Good point about the carbs. I started messing with the fuel tank last night and already know that the petcock will need to be cleaned out. The fuel filter is not coming out of the tank :0 and I suspect it is probably in need of being cleaned, if not replaced. If I can't pull it out nicely I will have no choice but rip it out and get a new one.

hmmm have fun.... that bike is freakin heavy

Perhaps for an offroad bike it is. My street bike is Bandit 600 which is close to 500 lbs. The XL is feather-like in comparison!

Hi, I run a 1985 xr600 and like the other chap said - clean the carb out good and proper. As in total stripdown, here in the UK petrol turns into a sort of varnish like coating inside the carb if left to dry out. Also the stators in these early bikes are the weak spot as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy!

Between reading on this board and in Clymer/Honda service manuals, I'm only coming up with more questions. I'm definitely having fun with the bike in the garage, so it'll be that much more fun when (if) I get it running.

Do I understand correctly that the recommended oil for the fork is Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)? Clymer says 10W is fine too, but this is the first time I hear of using DEXRON for the fork. What's so special about DEXRON oil?

I took off the right crankcase cover today to investigate kickstarter return spring problem, hoping it somehow popped off. No, it actually snapped off where it had a piece entering into the shaft. I haven't found that piece of metal, though. Also, the kick shaft cam, which I believe operates the decompression cable, is also broken. Bummer, because I was hoping that only return spring was broken, which is a cheaper part. I am somewhat concerned about the missing chunks of metal, although I'm guessing someone had already opened the case up and removed them earlier. The bolts were not torqued very hard and half of the gasket was missing. Hardly a coincidence, right?

I cannot remove the fuel filter from inside the gas tank. I believe it is probably gummed up and thinking about using the thin tube that came with carb cleaner spray can to blow through the gunk. I really did try pulling it out with needle-nose pliers, but it seems like that rips out pieces which I'm pulling, rather than the whole fuel filter. That bottom part appears to be made of fiberglass, or otherwise very fibery plastic. Also, there is no gasket to speak of between the tank and the petcock :D That really does not look much like what the manual shows.

Last question for now is about decompressors. I originally understood that decompression is accomplished by opening one of the exhaust valves during kickstarting. Now, I am coming to a conclusion that manual decompressor is applied on the right exhaust valve, but the automatic (kickstarter) decompressor actually opens the left intake valve. Does that mean the manual and automatic decompressors are not there for redundancy, but rather are used in different situations? I'm really confused at this point, although I'm thinking that the engine has not been starting in part due to the lack of kickstart decompressor.

hmmm have fun.... that bike is freakin heavy

Is that why it is nicknamed "the Pig"? I see that term used frequently when referring to XL600 or XR650 and want to make sure I'm guessing correctly.

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