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Greg@RME

Beater/Project WR450f

52 posts in this topic

So I didn't need this, especially as much of a project as it was... I almost passed on it... it was THAT BAD. On top of that, I messed up my right wrist last year and I've been trying to convince myself that I could live without a dedicated dirt bike. See how long that lasted? :thumbsup:

This bike came up on the local Craigslist and it peaked my curiosity. I emailed him and set up a time to see the bike. The guy selling it was pretty questionable, I'm pretty sure money from selling the bike was going to fund his drug habit for the next while. Even then, the paperwork and other info about the bike seemed on the up & up. Anyway... the bike... It's a '04 Yamaha WR450... and has been severely neglected and beat-up.

Honestly, I was scared to ride the bike, considering that 2 teeth next to each other were totally missing from the front sprocket. I put on my gear and rode it up and down the street... and that was enough!

The bad? Oil leaking from the valve cover, both sprockets and the chain are SHOT, 2 flat tires, front wheel bearings are shot, most of the bike was spray bombed flat black, bent brake levers, scratched headlight fairing, duct tape on the seat, a few broken/missing spokes on the rear wheel, front wheel bent in 2 places, etc, etc, etc.

The good part? It fires right up, runs great and is silly fast. Other than all the neglect, the engine seems to have been taken care of, no valve train noise, clean air filter, etc. Also, the bike is titled (clear title), which means I could plate it tomorrow at the DMV, if I wanted to. Pretty big deal here in Colorado.

The guy was asking $1000 and I honestly told him it wasn't worth that to me. I had cash and asked for his bottom line.... we settled on a price that we both were happy with, did the paperwork and loaded up the bike!

I have a used set of big bars from my DR and a handful of other small spare part kicking around. Those will help me get a jump on fixing this bike up for the Summer!

And so the project started.... brace yourselves, it's scary!

How I got it...

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I pulled off the seat and side panels, sprayed on a LOT of degreaser, then took it to the pressure washer. The previous owner didn't even have the decency to wash the mud/dirt off, from his last ride.

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Then I ran down to the ACE hardware and picked up some paint stripper, to try undo the black rattle can paint job... it cleaned up well!

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I was concerned the factory frame paint would come up with the stripper, but it didn't! I tested the rear fender to see how well the stripper would work with the plastic and it seems OK. I'm not TOO worried about it though, since I'll be replacing it all anyhow.

The other good things are... both tires look pretty good (Pirelli's) and it seems to have new brake pads front and rear. After I washed it I fired it up using the kickstart and it started on the 3rd kick, pretty good for a beat looking, cold 4 stroke! Again, it seems to run great.

I was able to heat up the bent front brake lever with a small propane torch and bend it back into a normal looking shape. The battery wasn't holding a charge either, so I plugged in the mig welder and zapped the battery, put the battery on the charger and it seems to be holding a charge now!

I ordered a bunch of maintenance parts, oil filters, spark plug, new heavy duty tubes, front wheel bearing, valve cover gasket and a new chain & sprocket kit. New plastics will come after I catch up on the mechanical stuff... but in the meantime, I did find a new/used Acerbis 3.3 gallon tank for the bike for $170! I'd like to find a new/used headlight fairing too.

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Gotta strip it down before I can put it back together!

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I had some used Protaper EVO big bars and a pair of bar risers sitting around, so I put them to use on the WR.-

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About then, my order from RockyMountainATV showed up!

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I bolted on the new rear sprocket, dismounted the rear tire and tried to get the rear rim kind of straight by bending out the dents and tightened the loose spokes.

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I decided that I wanted to wrap this up, so after getting my order from RMATV, I put in a 2nd order. Plastics, chain sliders and a handful of other parts I didn't get the first time. It would be great to go out riding on the WR next weekend!

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Nice job! It's amazing how much better the bike looks after getting all the tweeker off of it. :thumbsup:

I recently picked up an '01 426 that was in need of a little help. I'll be sharing it here pretty soon.

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I love seeing a noble steed brought back from the dead. Thanks for rescuing it from the bonds of tweekerdom.

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LOVE seeing an 04 brought back from the dark side.

You got yourself a GREAT bike there.

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Similar experience two years ago. '06 with original tires, filthy, blown fork seals, hole in air filter, etc, took a chance for $2k. Total teardown, everything in spec. 2yr and 2k later couldn't be happier.

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That is starting to look nice. You should end up with a nice bike for under 2K, or so it seems right now.

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Thanks guys, the encouragement helps! This weekend was a bit overwhelming, seems like every corner I turned I found somewhere else that I needed to spend more money.

On Saturday I picked up a few replacement spokes for the rear wheel , also picked up a magnetic oil drain plug. I dismounted the tire, straightened out the rim and installed the new spokes and tightened up the loose ones. I went to mount up the rear Pirelli tire and looked inside first... only to find the cords showing, in a bad way. The PO rode on a flat/low tire quite a bit, destroying a nice tire that still had 90% tread. :thumbsup: So I ended up ordering a Maxxis tire from RMATV.

After that frustrating deal, I moved onto the front wheel. Pressed out the seals and shot bearings, installed new ones, then went about straightening out the front rim. It was BEAT UP, I didn't realize how many times it had been hit. At least 7-8 dents... I almost ordered a new rim, but decided to try running this one for now. I mounted up the tire that was on the bike and installed the HD tube. The front end is now back together.

I also changed the oil & filter, dropped in a new spark plug and started working on the oil leaks. I got one taken care of, still waiting on the replacement valve cover gasket, which will take care of the main leak.

No new pictures this time around, hopefully I'll have some worth adding in the next few days!

Andrew(Rot Box)! You're a forum whore... :bonk: I do hope we can get together and ride one of these days, the Swell would be great.

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was the oil dirty? :ride:

Actually, it wasn't that bad! It was dirty, but you could light thru the oil as it poured out, so it had been somewhat freshly changed.

From what I could tell, the PO was intelligent enough to clean the air filter and change the oil. :thumbsup: It's the rest that he didn't do. :bonk:

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Andrew(Rot Box)! You're a forum whore... :lol: I do hope we can get together and ride one of these days, the Swell would be great.

Ya I usually head to where the action is! :bonk: Swell: YES! $200 in fuel to get there and back? Yes, but let me find a co-pilot or two to split fuel costs LOL!

We need to hit the color trails and 5MOH in the swell. I have some unfinished business on that one... It won the battle but I plan to win the war! :ride: LOL Anyway hopefully we can get an RME ride together this year. I'm bummed out I missed the last one :thumbsup:

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At first glance I didn't think that thing was going to make it. Now it looks great:thumbsup:

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You gonna check the valves when you go after the valve cover gasket?

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