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Old 04-29-2010, 10:20 AM   #1
unrealtrip OP
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Unrealtrip's 1985 XT600 rebuild ADVenture

Hello fellow inmates, tag along if you wish but I've got to warn you I have a tendency to get a bit wordy...

Backstory:
For some time now I'd been wanting to build up a proper ADV bike, one based on a tried and true simple thumper design with a short list of must haves like a kickstarter for example. Obviously, or maybe not obviously, the build is not just for the sake of building the bike, as I'd like to do some south of the border travel, eventually working up to a ride down to South America, starting off with a good deal of time down Baja way. While I could certainly have started off with a brand new bike, I thought the process of rebuilding one from the frame up would be a good experience, and not only would I really get to know the bike very well, but I'd be able to make adventure travel specific modifications from the ground up rather than attempt to deal strictly with bolting things on later. Though I'd done a top end once on my XT225, a complete tear-down and rebuild seemed much more intimidating, seeing as how I really have no idea what I'm doing, but like many of my ill fated plans I started off by saying to myself, "self... how hard could it be?" Inspired by Mezo's amazing work, I decided it was time to get more serious and actually tackle this project and make it happen.

So as time went on, I kept perusing the local classifieds, keeping my eyes peeled for that special bike that would just call out to me, and one day, low and behold there she was; a 1985 XT600 with 7,500 miles on it, current tags and supposedly no major mechanical problems When I went to go check it out, the bike was a little rough, but for a 25 year old bike that spent the majority of its life off road, she was actually not too bad and it even had an upgraded exhaust and a large Clarke tank on it. . Having recently done some damage to my ACL, I couldn't really climb aboard to test the kick starter, so I had the seller do it, in flip flops no less, and on the second kick she fired right up and idled smoothly with no smoke, and just a little bit of what sounded like valves tapping on something. I looked the bike over as she sat there idling and noted a few small issues, including a minor leak in what I think was a gasket on the oil tank which made for a mess around the back of the bike, but overall the bike was in ridable condition without any real work. So a handshake, title transfer and couple hundred later, she was on my trailer and headed to her new home.

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Messy and boy does that spring need to be more powerful, my weight alone takes it FAR through its travel.


This thing is nice, but a bit too loud for me, can these be tuned quieter?


A welcome addition was the large tank, I won't be needing to source one of my own, that alone added a good deal to the overall value imo














But first, I needed a bench of some sort to actually do the build...
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My 1985 XT600 rebuild thread

Everyone dies, not everyone lives.
---------------------------------
'08 Buell XB12XT - "The Bomber"
'02 Yamaha XT225, '99 Suzuki RM125
'85 Yamaha XT600

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam" - I will find a way or I will make one.

XT600riders.com
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:33 AM   #2
Zecatfish
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That super trap can be quieted down. Just remove a few discs at a time till its where you want it. Remember that each one removed also makes it more restrictive.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:49 AM   #3
gtackett
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I have an 86' XT600 (with a Clarke oversize tank) that I commute on daily. Looking forward to seeing what you do with this....
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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Hoola!

Hey Dude that's great! I am currently building mine up too. It's all over the garage (xt 600 tenere '83). I'm considering a custom look and am having trouble making up my mind about it. If you see any lekker custom jobs let me know... Good luck! and take your time...
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
unrealtrip OP
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Now that I finally had acquired the bike, I needed to create someplace in the garage for me to do the actual work on it once I got the thing apart, so I finally had a good excuse to get around to building a respectable workshop workbench and along the way learn some things about woodworking. I had really only made a couple things out of wood before, a cat house for our outdoor cats I made with my wife that came out... well, less than pretty, but somewhat functional; and a wood storage box for my Landrover out of plywood. So being green to woodwork, I have to say it was something of a surprise when after I cut the 2x4's down to fit my plans and measured them out that they all came up short and that a 2x4 is not actually 2"x4" it is more like 1.5"x3.4" What the hell is the deal with that? Anyway, with some quick adjustments in my plans I had sketched out I was able to work around the issue without wasting any wood, and in the end got a pretty cool workbench completed for only about $75 worth of wood.

So starting out with a truck full of this (more not in frame):


I went to a midway point of this:


And eventually finished it up looking like this:


Alas, I had to rest the bike on something so I could disassemble it, so I took my remaining scraps and whipped up this little bike stand, which so far has proven quite handy.


At this point, I was ready to crack open a cold one, mount up the bike and start disassembly.


But this really isn't a thread about my cool workbench and poseur woodsmith shot or wonderful smooth dark brown ale, it is about the bike teardown and rebuild, so with everything in place, tools at the ready, beer in hand and classic rock playing lightly in the background, I began taking her clothes off... I mean, getting her parts off... er I mean... well you know what I mean
__________________
My 1985 XT600 rebuild thread

Everyone dies, not everyone lives.
---------------------------------
'08 Buell XB12XT - "The Bomber"
'02 Yamaha XT225, '99 Suzuki RM125
'85 Yamaha XT600

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam" - I will find a way or I will make one.

XT600riders.com

unrealtrip screwed with this post 04-29-2010 at 01:47 PM
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
hobie1dog
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Now we're talking....nice place to start, with a good work bench. Bike looks like a good one to restore.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
Geoff D
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Location: Tenereland, North East England
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Good luck with the rebuild, will be keeping an eye on this, might pick up some tips....

Please come to England and build me a workbench
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:11 PM   #8
Mezo
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Wicked Have beer can build

Quote:
Originally Posted by unrealtrip


A man after me own heart, decent workbench & an ale in a proper glass



Subscribed

The thumper thread will full full of XT builds soon, LoL.

Good Luck,

Mezo.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:44 AM   #9
WildMonkey
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: North Cantonment
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Yep... You Guessed it....

I'm subscribed ! With a little luck.. I hope to be the proud new owner of the XT GUNZ is selling ! Definitely gonna be studyin' up on these 'ole thumpers !

Steve.
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:53 PM   #10
unrealtrip OP
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zecatfish
That super trap can be quieted down. Just remove a few discs at a time till its where you want it. Remember that each one removed also makes it more restrictive.
That is excellent info, ty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Rider
Hey Dude that's great! I am currently building mine up too. It's all over the garage (xt 600 tenere '83). I'm considering a custom look and am having trouble making up my mind about it. If you see any lekker custom jobs let me know... Good luck! and take your time...
Thanks, good luck with yours too, start a thread on it?

Gunz: What an awesome bike, that thing is clean, almost looks new you did an awesome job on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezo
A man after me own heart, decent workbench & an ale in a proper glass



Subscribed

The thumper thread will full full of XT builds soon, LoL.

Good Luck,

Mezo.
Alas, sometimes a little too much of the proper glassed ale for this motohead makes for a glassy eyed builder that misplaces things.
__________________
My 1985 XT600 rebuild thread

Everyone dies, not everyone lives.
---------------------------------
'08 Buell XB12XT - "The Bomber"
'02 Yamaha XT225, '99 Suzuki RM125
'85 Yamaha XT600

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam" - I will find a way or I will make one.

XT600riders.com
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:53 PM   #11
unrealtrip OP
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Now that I had the bench worked out and a stand to prop the bike up on, it was time to start tearing down the bike, first with the plastics, eventually getting to the electronics and then of course big pieces like the forks and rear swingarm. With the wiring I tried to make a really good point of labeling both wires as I split them, even though most were properly color coded for lining back up later, and with bolts that I did not place back into the removed part I stuck them through a 3x5" notecard with writing stating what they were from. Alas, as I drank more and more throughout the teardown, I got sloppier because somehow I ended up with a few bolts from an unknown origin which I'll either figure out later, or toss in the extra parts bin.

Otherwise, generally speaking everything went fairly smoothly, no broken bolts, a few that had some rounded heads that I'll need to replace later, but I got them off fine for now. And as I did the teardown I came across one thing or another here and there that reminded me why the frame up on such an old bike was a good thing. For one, several of the electrical connector's plastic terminals were so old and brittle the came apart in my hands. Most of the tape around the wires was disintegrating, the rubber boots on the wires up front fell apart and when I got the steering head apart I found some nice dry bearings, though the races looked good.

Tonight or tomorrow, I'll take the frame off the motor, move the motor to my bench and start into the top end so that if it needs anything, I can work on the other parts of the bike while I wait on things like rings/gaskets/etc to arrive in the mail. By the sound of it, the motor either needs nothing so we'll see how she looks when I get in there. The question at this point on frame restoration, is do I go ahead and do the full powdercoat thing? Do I get automotive paint and airgun it myself at home? Or do I just rattle can it with epoxy frame paint? Regardless of what method I use, I'll likely rivet some aluminum diamond plate to the frame where boots end up rubbing off whatever paint is there.



With just a little tug she went kaboom... and alas, this was not the only exploding connector. Just look at how yellowed that plastic is, yech. I'll be installing new connectors in place of those when I start putting the bike back together.


For the most part the bike came apart with just a couple of tools. As I was going through the takedown I kept saying to myself whoever put this together was a smart guy.


One down...


Because well... my memory sucks


Throw in a Dos Equis


And follow it up with this thing which was god aweful strong and next thing I know I'm misplacing wrenches and forgetting what goes where.


But somehow, I got it to this point


And hiked her up on the stand I made, pulling off the forks and rear tire


Dry bearings and rust


And my praise for the engineers continued right up until I tried to take the airbox out. Who was the drunken idiot that designed that POS?


Finally, the state I left her in, deciding it not wise to proceed, lest I drop the motor in my drunken state while attempting to move it to my bench.


So there you have it, the complete, sort of documented teardown on my 1985 XT600 to the frame and motor. Next up will be the motor takedown, though I suspect I'll only get into the sidecase and top end since the bottom end sounded perfect, although at the same time, if I ever was going to do it, now that it is off the frame is a good time to. At any rate, the disassembly isn't that interesting I suspect, with the good stuff on the cleanup, reassembly and ADV specific modifications that go into building an adventure bike from the frame up.

I have decided to stick with the original paint scheme after all, opting for the red/white/black, though I'm not concerned about attempting to do a full restoration to put the bike into original form or anything, I'm just aiming to refresh everything, fix the parts that need fixing, and build a reliable dual purpose machine capable of, hopefully, whatever I throw her way.

Well... here goes nothin
__________________
My 1985 XT600 rebuild thread

Everyone dies, not everyone lives.
---------------------------------
'08 Buell XB12XT - "The Bomber"
'02 Yamaha XT225, '99 Suzuki RM125
'85 Yamaha XT600

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam" - I will find a way or I will make one.

XT600riders.com
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:48 AM   #12
unrealtrip OP
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No major updates, got the frame and motor apart, started cleaning up the frame and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the bulk of the paint on the frame other than at wear points was actually in really good shape. So now the question is how do I want to handle painting it. Do I just get an epoxy/resin color matched paint and just spray those areas? I'm definitely going to rivet on some sort of aluminum cover where boots rub the frame, that just seems to wear off on every bike, I wonder why they don't just come that way.

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Anyway still cleaning up the frame, then on to the paint. It is nice to see the bike coming along, slowly but surely.
__________________
My 1985 XT600 rebuild thread

Everyone dies, not everyone lives.
---------------------------------
'08 Buell XB12XT - "The Bomber"
'02 Yamaha XT225, '99 Suzuki RM125
'85 Yamaha XT600

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam" - I will find a way or I will make one.

XT600riders.com
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:36 AM   #13
Airvent
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Looks great man, keep it up
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
sonnyboy
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F fin- good read with good pics and to see that theres more goons around the world like myself that love there beer
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #15
Mezo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unrealtrip
I'm definitely going to rivet on some sort of aluminum cover where boots rub the frame, that just seems to wear off on every bike, I wonder why they don't just come that way.
Sandblast & powdercoat it, look nice & lasts longer than paint.
The alloy plate will look OK only if you do it well, id leave it off personally.

Mezo.
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