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Old 07-19-2012, 07:30 PM   #1
Hondaman350 OP
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Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
Oddometer: 10
Project Fallen Tree- Honda XL350R Revamp

Well how do i start this.... Im Tyler, im an auto mechanic and i live on Vancouver Island B.C., And as an islander i love my outdoors so that includes DirtBikes, Mountain Bikes, 4x4ing, Camping and so on. I Am also Canadian so that means i love beer, and it happens again that i am from the island so its Lucky Brand Beer Eh! So enough with that and on to the goods....

My Friends had a bought a couple brand new dirtbikes a couple years ago now, they bought two brand new Husaberg FE570 Dualsports, very nice bikes but unfortunately out of my price league. So i had to improvise, the local bike shop had a xl350r in good shape for cheap $1300, so after some scrambling money up i scooped it up and rode it like a mad man for a year. Now this little bike some people may say is not very dirt orientated but i truly is with the right rider, i followed those husabergs everywhere for about a year, throught trials trails, harescramble courses, and just everyday gravel. Now im not saying im the best rider, i think we summed it up as having the ability to hold on... lol.

So this winter 2011, we saw winds in town of campbell river of 100 to 130kph, this lasted for multiple days. At the place i was renting we had some large trees in the backyard overlooking the driveway( i assume you can see where this is going) i had a tent shed from crappy tire and in it was my little xl. Well i came home one day to find my tent shed across the street and a tree in the driveway, and under that tree was the xl.... Needless to say i was a little upset that night. Called my bestfriend over for support, and we sawed the tree up and got the bike free. Headlight bucket was smashed, speedo, cluster, all toast, kickstand frame mount torn from frame. Crap, well thats where it started, if i was gonna replace a few parts i was gonna do it my way. And so it began, Project Fallen Tree...

This is what i started with when i bought it new to me, a 1986 honda xl350r


Sneak Peak As to What it looks like Currently


So after reading about different parts from the xr lineup that where suppose to swap to this one, i decided to
Swap rear swingarm to xr600- For longer wheelbase, alum lighter
Swap rear shock to the xr350r shock- Adjustablilty and remote res
Swap to xr600 rear fender- Looks better, more clearence
Swap to USD frontend- Stiffer, less flex, need that in the tight woods we ride
Swap to newer front fender- update style
Swap to newer Headlight- update style
Redo motor-due to some nasty old piston slap starting to get bad before the tree hit it

Now there was alot of misinformation posted on the xl350r/xr350r to xr600 swingarm swap so im going to clarify it all up in this post, so anyone going to do this to an old xr can do so with the right info, Enjoy..
Also all the welding and custom machining is done by my bestfriend joe, cause i cant weld or cut brackets in a straight line he says lol..

Hondaman350 screwed with this post 07-19-2012 at 09:23 PM
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:58 PM   #2
Hondaman350 OP
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Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
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The Frontend Swap

As for the frontend i wanted to go usd but i didnt want the bike to have unbalanced suspension, that is why i stuck to an old usd rather than go with the standard crf syle that everyone goes with. I new that the old rear shock would never be as good as the crf front would be. So some local craigslist browsing found me
A 1990 YZ125 Parts bike, This bike came with a 41mm KYB Usd, and had a new front tire and rim just put on, took the whole bike for $150


So a call to allballs later resulted in no direct swap of bearings, but we found one that was close
Stock Steering Bearing Size on Xr is 26x47x15
Stock YZ125 Steering Bearing Size is 28x52x16
All Balls closest one was 28x46x13
So this bearing would fit the yz stem be very close in diameter to the xr steering head and little short
A quick call to my buddy and he said yup i can make it work.
We decided to use the yz stem instead of the xr stem due to keeping most strength of the steering stem. The xr stem is very small in diameter to the yz stem
I also ordered up a couple xr bottom steering stem seals from honda, cause they fit the headtube on the bike and have enough room in the center to be bored out to the yz steering stem.
Couple weeks later and off to the machine shop we go...

Custom Bearing adaptors to take up the extra slack, and properly fit the yz stem in the honda headtube.



Turned out really nice, So next up we installed the new races into the headtube with a modified lower honda seal and saw we needed a spacer for the top tripple and fiqure out how to seal the top. Honda must have been thinking about this at some point. We ended up using the stock xl350r seal and spacer ring and bored it out to fit the yz stem size. it was perfect height and made a tight seal against the headtube.
Modifyed stock honda xl lower seal vs old yz lower seal

Top seals in pic are stock honda xl top seal and spacer ring, from right to left on bottom seals, stock yz, modded xl and stock xl


Usd Front Mounted Pics, and a little harley impression for everyone..





As a note too with the 41mm kybs and a stock steel tank i have no contact and full steering ability without moving the stock steering stops on the triples and the frame

On to the rear next

Hondaman350 screwed with this post 07-19-2012 at 10:33 PM
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
Hondaman350 OP
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Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
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Rear Xr600 swap

On to the rear, i really wanted a little bit longer wheelbase, and of course some weight savings and i hate to admit it but the xr600 alum swingarms just look alot nicer. The stock xl shock is not very good in dirt either, so a shock upgrade was in order too.
I got a used 86 xr600 swingarm off ebay, a rear 86 linkage bolt kit for same and an 84 xr350r rear shock and we set to work.
The swingarm will bolt in the frame with no issues, same spacing, the upper shock mount will also bolt in with no issues, now the fun part. Where the lower shock mounts in the swingarm you will need a spacer, the shock in the swingarm sits all the way to the right. Also the xr/xl shock linkage itself is the same, people will tell you an xl link and an xr link are different, they are not for these years of bike, the linkage is the same length, its the shock and swingarm that changes the height on these bikes. Also why i bought the 86 linkage bolt kit is you need the shock bolt that goes into the swingarm from the 600, the xr350 one will not work


So a spacer has to be made to take up the spacing issue, ours ending up being 8.5mm wide with same id as the bolt going through.


Also if you go with the xr shock you will have to mount a reservior as the xl doesnt have one and there is not much room for one, but this was the place to put it. Hope this helps someone out we mucked with this for a bit to get the best placement
And the welding starts....




And a pic of the front and rear suspension fitted...


And as for the last thing on the rear, in my xl i had an xr wheel when i got it im assuming because the cushdrive wouldnt be any good for offroad all the time. The xr600 wheel spacing is different than the xr350, so we took about 1/8" off the brake panel and it fit right in the swingarm. Also the chainline from the motor to the rear sprocket is perfect at that length too.

Hondaman350 screwed with this post 07-19-2012 at 10:32 PM
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:58 PM   #4
Hondaman350 OP
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Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
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Engine Time

So I ended up tearing my engine down to see what was going on with the loud slapping noises, not good.
Found some Stator bolts had backed out and bent lol



Pulled the head and found some bad piston to wall clearence

Found and idler gear that had a cracked bushing causing it to rub on case and eat some teeth

I had also found the cases cracked so it was time to look for another motor, i ended up finding one and basically took two motors and made one good one. I went first overbore with a new weisco piston. I also ended up needed one exhaust valve somehow it bent, im thinking from a previous issues the other owner had before me
Build pics




Motor Done and painted ready to be installed
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:12 PM   #5
Hondaman350 OP
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Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
Oddometer: 10
Tanks, frames and rolling chassis pics

Had the frame and tank mediablasted locally came out quite nice


Took a while but i finally decided on a colour, was gonna go with honda red but i wanted to keep it the 86 original colour so i decided to go with white and blue with a bit of black to accent. My painter used lexus white for the tank and the frame, even though i told him this was for a dirtbike that was going to be trail riding and mostlikey dinged or dropped or something he still decided to put 4 coats of polish on the tank lol. Its white!! Hotrod in the background is his


Had a crazy idea for the exhaust, my local bike shop Bikesmith had some used good mufflers hanging around, we found one from a yz250f and it looked close enough that it might work. $40 later and a phone call to me buddy, he said bring it on down. A little later and we came up with this
Stock can

Old can to new can with brackets and ready to mount

Buddys Beauty Welds

Rolling chassis pic, and Next Up Is the reassembly!!!

Hondaman350 screwed with this post 07-19-2012 at 10:26 PM
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:32 PM   #6
south
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Hey, nice start. :

I've got an '85 XL350R project that I'll get back to one of these days. Like you I went with the XL600 swingarm and XR350R shock. For the forks I've opted for (merely) the (bigger diameter) OEM XR350R units--cut the ignition and dash mounting brackets off the XL upper triple and welded them onto the XR triple, which, of course is a direct bolt-up to the XL frame.

Got the 1mm over, 10.5:1 compression JE piston from XLintperformance and had the piston, combustion chamber w/ exhaust ports and valve faces, and header ceramic coated by Swain Tech to combat heat and friction (piston skirt)--air cooleds get a bit toasty during Florida summers.

Couple other projects have jumped ahead of it in the queue, but in the meantime I've picked up a few parts bikes to assist with the reassembly, and I'll be watching your thread with keen interest, so by all means keep the updates coming. :
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:05 PM   #7
Hondaman350 OP
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Joined: Nov 2011
Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
Oddometer: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by south View Post
Hey, nice start. :

I've got an '85 XL350R project that I'll get back to one of these days. Like you I went with the XL600 swingarm and XR350R shock. For the forks I've opted for (merely) the (bigger diameter) OEM XR350R units--cut the ignition and dash mounting brackets off the XL upper triple and welded them onto the XR triple, which, of course is a direct bolt-up to the XL frame.

Got the 1mm over, 10.5:1 compression JE piston from XLintperformance and had the piston, combustion chamber w/ exhaust ports and valve faces, and header ceramic coated by Swain Tech to combat heat and friction (piston skirt)--air cooleds get a bit toasty during Florida summers.

Couple other projects have jumped ahead of it in the queue, but in the meantime I've picked up a few parts bikes to assist with the reassembly, and I'll be watching your thread with keen interest, so by all means keep the updates coming. :
Hey thanks for the look, i didnt know if anyone is still playing around with this stuff so i posted it up.
Yeah i was gonna go for the bigger xr forks on the front but i got a steal on the usd, just tried it out today, 4 hours in some very wet rooty, nasty harescramble climbs, if you can do it get usd, theres no steering flex and man they are plush but never bottom lol. Youll love the rear shock now too, it felt like a totally different bike today.
I second the heat thing, these motors get HOT, im running 20w50 now which actually does wonders in the old air cooled xrs. If that doesnt do it i got a oil coooler off a f150 were gonna try mounting up.
But good luck with your build, when you get it done post it up or send me a pic, i always like looking at old xr stuff.
Dont worry updates are a coming....
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #8
Hondaman350 OP
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Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
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Reassembly Pictures

Alright, so it starts it took me about a week and a half to put it back together, trying to remember what went were and how everything routed.
First Night
Start- Got engine bolted in frame, locktighted all mounts cause they like to come loose

Sat around trying to remember where i put all the bolts and rubber gromments for the frame
But this is what i ended up with later that night- Engine, airbox, carbs, rear shock


Start of second Night

Rounded up the front forks, all the rear suspension pieces and put them on

Super tired at end of this night, had to deal with alot of old broken, rusted bolts on cars today, but i managed to get the exhaust on there lol

Took a break for a couple days due to being tired from work at my real job, but managed to get all this done the next night
That is a polisport headlight, and a fender off a 99yz250. The polisport h4 bulb style lights are super bright, fit nice too. Had to do a little redrilling on the mounts for the fender for it to sit right and not look goofy.

Side View, Getting closer...................... And the End of that night


I decided on the universal xr600 rear fender, so i got that on and wired the next night, handlebars etc


Next night, im not sure how i did this but i managed to get my girlfriend to wash my seat and the side panels, i still cannot believe how much crap she puts up with me and my toys lol. Love ya Cass if you read this......
Seat turned out good, side panels will be replaced later this winter, as maier is the only person who makes them at$104 a set, i decided to put the money in the bike rather than just on plastic for now
Looks like a bike




Last but not least some money shots before the first real dirt ride, been heat cycling around the block to get the new rings seated.
Full Frontal

Side Views, just dont look at the side panels ...


Next update coming up, Its riding time!!!!

Hondaman350 screwed with this post 07-22-2012 at 07:36 PM
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:53 PM   #9
Hondaman350 OP
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Location: Vancouver island, bc, Canada eh!
Oddometer: 10
First Ride Notes

So my buddy joe who did all the fabbing/weld work for me and another buddy of ours andy went down saturday july 21st to get a bike for him, as he wanted to join the crowd. So now there is THREE HUSABERGS..... AND ONE HONDA LOL. He got a smoking deal though, get a 2010 husaberg FE450 street legal, with supermoto tires and rims, berg is tricked out with rad fans, map switch etc and a whole garage of spare parts for $6500 good deal.
So of course he is chomping at the bit to ride this thing, and well im done now so we setup a ride for sunday morning around 10-10:30ish. Went out riding, got soaked within the first 30 mins, it was monsooning here, after we were already wet who cares hit every puddle!!! Yahoo, Bike works awesome, but im a little rusty, had three over the bar incidents today on the tight twisted trails we ride, bikes ok but im a little sore.

But on to the tech stuff...
USD forks on the xr is awesome, handles every small bump you through at it with smoothness, hit a pothole at speed and its smooth, i recommend to anyone to do this. Tight woods, harescramble stuff its great, frontend is stiff, very little flex, so little i cant feel it anymore like the xl/xr stuff. The extra wheelbase helped alot on this bike too, steep woods hills are great, frontend is very planted now. Rear shock is tons better. The front/rear suspension is extremly balanced with this setup, ride at speed or down low and it just puts a smile on your face, and if my hands could smile they would too.
I found that in the midst of checking the frontbrakes out yesterday that my master cyl stuck on when hot, so i took the cap off and found lots of moisture in it, flushed the brakes and then couldnt get it to bleed. Reverse bleed, standard bleed, pressure bleed, no go then finally it went, and i found out my master is toast. Crap, what am i going to do now, hey i have an xl master hmmmm.
Measured the caliper pistons, yz same as xl brakes, hmm, measured the xl piston and the yz piston on the master, hmm same. Well the banjo bolt is the same size and right length too, so i swapped out masters, bleed the brakes and now i have awesome front brakes and a micro switch for the brake light to keep it street legal!!


All in all, the bike worked out awesome, hopefully this thread will help some people ressurrect some old xl/xrs into being even better trail bikes
There will be updates coming soon, as this bike is street legal and i sill have to mount up a speedo, some flush mount rear signals, and maybe an oil cooler next.
Stay tuned for more............

Dont worry i did wash it after
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:50 PM   #10
DzikiDzik
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Hi there, Hondaman! Tell me
is there a big difference between the XL's original shock with org. swingarm and XR's shock with XR600 arm? Is it worth to change if I have the original state, which does not satisfy me?
Do you know what other front suspensions can be adaptated with a little difficulty to XL?
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