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RED1 11-11-2011 03:58 AM

Refreshing the XL600RMG
It is time to give the old XL a going over in the engine dept, I bought it about 8 years ago with 57,000ks on the clock as a town commuter. Having electric start made it perfect for the job, when we moved to mansfield it did quite a few trips to town and back without a hitch.

This model has the XR600 engine with an electric starter fitted, it was only made for 2 years, 86 and 87 with the 13lt tank, it has a 97mm bore with the long stroke where as the previous kick only XL600 83 to 85 had the 100mm bore and short stroke engine. Its big tank cousin was also used in the Dakar but was never imported here, I have all the parts to make it like the euro only version, my big tank was used twice on safari in 85 in standard 28lt form and in 88 when it had been modified to hold 35lt by Rod Tingate, the XL gets around 800ks to a tank which is very handy for exploring.

The modified tank on my 88 XR600 safari bike.

The Euro version came with a red or black engine.

My first XL at Woods point many years ago with all the euro stuff fitted

Neveu on his dakar XL

RED1 11-11-2011 04:03 AM

The main reason for rebuilding the engine is that the gear lever was welded on when i got it, sooner or later I thought that the engine would need a rebuild but it kept on going, at around 65,000 I fitted a new cam chain and much to my surprise the engine had never been apart before! The clutch casing and head cover need to be removed to do the job and none of the locking tabs or bolts had been undone before and everything was in great condition, still on the original clutch, piston, rings, valves etc. It is still running pefectly strong today, it uses a bit of oil but blows no smoke at all, it now has 81,000 on the clock when I pulled it to pieces.

The head is is great condition, the valve have mushroomed a bit and have been sent away to be faced, I will recut the seats and it will be back to normal, the guides have no wear at all.

The valve pics are not the best!

RED1 11-11-2011 04:06 AM

The head and valve seats

As I suspected the bore has some glazing on it and all I am doing is running a ball hone through it.

The ring gap is quite good also

RED1 11-11-2011 04:09 AM

The piston is still in good condition but I am going to replace it, the piston for this engine is NLA so I am going to put a later XR version in it.

It has a bit of blowby past the rings.

The pin is also good but will be replaced, the small end has some wear and a very tiny bit of movement when the pin is in however this engine is very quiet and has virtually no mechanical noise

RED1 11-11-2011 04:13 AM

Even the cam chain guides are in good nic.

Once the cases were split I was curious to see how the gearbox would look.

The shift forks are perfect and have no marks or wear at all

The gears sometimes suffer from pitting and loss of hardening but overall these seem in very good condition, all the engagement dogs are fine including the matching holes, if you look closely you can see some wear on a couple of gears, I will inspect these closer to see if they need replacing

It was probably good timing or good luck that I decided to rebuild the engine as I discovered that the countershaft was badly worn where the sprocket goes on, this could have left the bike stranded if it totally stripped the spline, the large spline was changed to a fine spline on the later XR engines and this one is NLA and supercedes to the large spline NX650 version. I suppose you can't really complain after 81,000ks of single cylinder thumping!

RED1 11-11-2011 04:15 AM

So after the seats are cut, new piston rings etc, all new gaskets and a new countershaft and possibly some gears the XL will be ready for another 80,000ks

RED1 11-11-2011 04:17 AM

Gearbox update!
Mainshaft 5th has pitting on about 6 teeth, the hardening is wearing off, all the other gears are fine

RED1 11-11-2011 04:19 AM

I ordered about 30 parts for the XL and got them the next day, seals, O rings gaskets, one gear, one countershaft etc, only one part not supplied for a 25 year old bike! Not bad, one little o ring for an external oil line, old ones look fine but I thought I might as well replace them. Valves have been refaced and I will cut new seats and lap them in and wack it back together, honed the bore and it has come up excellent.

RED1 11-11-2011 04:23 AM finish off where I started, had a very busy week leading up to the cup weekend, had to finish the XL, which I did around midnite friday and also had to finish a brand new CRF230F for the other half with bashplate, heated grips, trailtech, acerbis handguards and all the rec reg gear before the weekend, plus the shop is sooo busy as the grass season is in full swing, bummer when you can't get time to work on your own bikes!

I was going to fit different suspension for this ride but had virtually no time to try and sort it out, I put in a set of XR350 front forks and a fournales air shock in the rear, this lifted the bike dramatically and gave it XR height and ground clearance and made the side stand almost useless. I had one short ride on a dirt road and found it to be very skittish and loose in the front so with limited time left I went back to to the standard suspension with some mods as I did not need any problems riding with 17 others over 3 days in the high country.

As you can see the forks are way longer with more travel, I used these in a 92 NX650 safari bike to get 4th outright in 92 and win my class

The rear air shock loses 2.5kg straight away as it has no spring, you use air pressure to adjust sag, runs about 3bar of pressure, I have used this one in the safari and for trailriding, really different type of a ride, this one is made for an XR600, the XL runs the same linkage with a shorter shock, I also used another one made for the NX650 in the 92 safari, the right shock is an XR350 one I thought about using but there is no room on the XL for the reservoir

So with the standard suspension back in I put some more fork oil in and some spacers for more preload, the rear shock had more spring preload put on it and the rebound made a bit harder, now this is a 25 year old shock with no reservoir and 4 rebound adjustments

RED1 11-11-2011 04:29 AM

When i finally finished the XL she fired first go and ran beautifully with the engine being just as quiet as before, I was tossing up what tires to use for the weekend, full knobs or "adventure" bike tires, I like to test new things and stuff that I sell so I decided to run a set of continental twinduro TKC 80s. The XL has tubless rims and I was also keen to see how these went in fairly hard off road riding, it runs the normal 21" front and a 17" rear, I was a bit concerned about pressures as it was raining before we left and rained most of the night

This is what continental says about the tires,

The Conti TKC80 Twinduro provides the de riguer finish to the adventure style motorcycle. The tyre choice of world conquering adventurers and standard equipment on the BMW R1200GS Adventure. The Conti TKC80 Twinduro delivers un rivalled on and off road performance, all season, all weather, in all terrain and every road condition, regardless of continent! Conti TKC80 Twinduro World Conquering Grip, dont go exploring without them.

I have to say they are pretty much spot on with the discription, they are even made in Korea!

I ran 15 psi and had no trouble anywhere on any track we went on in the high country, we had squalls, chewed up muddy tracks from bulldozers and 4WD clubs with 20 vehicles, I went from Licola up to Mt Wellinton, track wet and muddy with 4WDs having been there, over to the pinnacles for lunch and down billy goats then up a few steep ones stopping to carry some tired riders on the pillion pegs on the last few steep hills as they had run out of stamina, no traction problems at all and they loved the big comfy seat on the XL taking them up the hill!

The run down to dargo on the the wet bitumen was a blast as well as the tires were better than full knobs!

The next day was another good test going along collingwood spur and over to brewery creek and down and then up sarah spur for lunch and another downpour and lunch at the hut. We then worked our way back to dargo for the night.

The last day was back to licola through eaglevale over the swing bridge as the river was a bit deep but not impossible, the owner of the bridge was there and said we could all ride over it! Then up cynthia and down wombat to wonnagatta for lunch, the big group of KTM riders looked at me a bit funny on the big XL as we regrouped at wombat?

We then went up zeka which was being bulldozed and was muddy and had to pass about 20 4WDs to get the the top onto howitt rd. We then made our way back licloa with a few detours along the way.

All this on the XL which weighs in at 153Kg dry! on road trail tires! sure the XR650 would have been more fun but the XL never missed a beat, used no oil after the rebuild and didn't even have time to run it in! went everywhere without a hitch and did not even hit reserve on 150k days with the 13lt tank.

The only problem I had was rolling the front tire off the rim on a downhill and broke the bead which was hard to pump up being tubless so I put a tube in it for the rest of the trip.
The tires were great even in very slippery mud, never lost drive at any time and were great for grip on rocks

Front tire after the ride.

Rear tire

RED1 11-11-2011 04:32 AM

So, had a great ride on the old XL, didn't like air too much, had to roll though most of the drains but I wasn't on a mission and could still turn the wick up on the the smoother sections, the gearing normally is 15/40 but that would not have been much fun on the hills so I went 14/48 as per XR600 which was spot on for taking off on steep hills and chugging up any steep pinch with power to spare! Fuel econony was great and even the rear drum did the job river crossings and all, the only thing I touched the whole ride which was around 500ks was oil the new EK chain and put petrol in it apart from the front tube, not bad for a 25 year old bike! Oh and the seat was super comfy and the envy of all the others with their planks they call seats

Reposado1800 11-11-2011 05:35 AM

What oil do you run? It looks like it worked great for all those miles.

RED1 11-11-2011 06:12 AM

For the first 57,000 I don't have a clue as I did not own it, after that it's had Honda GN4 in it.

Brtp4 11-11-2011 11:10 AM

Sooooooo in.


Reposado1800 11-11-2011 04:40 PM

Does that little shroud on the fuel tank hide an oil cooler or is it a duct to direct air at the head?

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