Exhaust Side Valve Assembly on an XT225
Exhaust Side Valve Assembly on an XT225

May kinda sneaked up while April passed us by.

I’m short a few articles that I meant to write for April. I have about half a dozen articles started, all in various stages that I have yet to finish due to an ongoing chain of events starting at the beginning of the mouth, through the end. As I start writing this wrap-up (It is currently Monday Afternoon, I will most likely finish it up tomorrow night), I realize how I’ve been doing this wrap-ups, without really realizing it.  I just decided to start posting them up to fill in the “blanks” on my weekends, kind of give an idea of what I’ve been working on (if anything), and give you a quick look into what articles you can expect in the future along with my other methods of updating you with Facebook and Twitter.

So without too much more blah blah blah, here is my weekend wrap-up for the start of May!

Friday ended up being a pretty decent day.  I met up with Co-Rider Gus at his place for a bit, than we both headed off to Healthy Harvest.  This is the company I order from online for all of my freeze dried products that specializes in emergency preparedness items.

I am glad I took the time to stop there. Not only does it save me on shipping costs, I was able to get to know the owners a bit.

Jan and her Husband are both avid motorcyclists, and have been running their business for over 20 years now. Originally starting as a store front, they have moved to the world of Online only.

Going there actually allowed me to get some more idea’s while talking with Jan.  She let me try out some Freeze Dried Blueberries, and I have to say, I’ll probably end up buying some when I buy my round of food stuffs for my trip.  They tasted great, and are kind of a weird feeling to have them basically turn to powder in your mouth then reconstitute in your saliva (I know, sounds gross, but it is the truth!) and take on an entirely new texture.

Buy while there, I picked up some freeze dried foods to finish up my testing before the big trip.  On my list of purchase’s were ground beef, tomato powder, diced red and green peppers, margarine powder (I had no idea!), grated cheddar cheese, diced carrots, sweet corn, and after seeing it online, I just had to pick it up, shredded hashbrown potato’s.

The last one there is not for the trip. I seriously saw it and was like “Oh! I gotta try that out”. So yes, it’s mainly to see how well it tastes. Curiosity gets the best of me sometimes.

Another curiosity item I bought, was some compressed wash towels called EZ-Towels. These things come in a pack of 50 for four bucks. You add a little bit of water, they expand from the size of about 4 stacked nickles.

I’ve had more fun showing other people how they work than anything else. It’s just kind of a neat concept, and the fact that they are so versatile in use makes them one of those items that is worth just keeping around in your home, vehicle, or first aid kit.

As mentioned, Gus went along with me, and I think he found a new place to purchase from for his trips from now on as well.  His approach to trips are MRE’s, which they carry in case’s of 12.  The warehouse is about 5 minutes from his house, so he’s very excited of learning of its existence, and is looking forward to purchasing some items from them as well.

Moving on through the day, I made my into Oregon and down the Gorge to Hood River.  I took no break once I got to my parents, and immediately started working on the XT.

My plans were to meet up with Gus the following morning, and go riding. But before I did that, I needed to replace a leaky valve cover gasket on the exhaust side.

The exhaust side gasket on the XT225 is a common item to go out. It is a rubber o-ring that seals the cover, and the extreme heat from the exhaust eventually causes the rubber to flatten out and harden, allowing it oil to start to seep through.

Initially when it started to leak, it was just a small damp spot, nothing to much to worry about. But within a couple hundred miles, it became a larger mess, and realized it was just prudent to put the bike away until I got the time to replace the gasket.

I figured, since I was pulling 1 valve cover off, I may as well pull both off and adjust the valves of need be.

Exhaust side checked out fine, while the intake side was tight.  Adjusted the intake side, and recovered the valves.

The great thing about the XT, is the valves are just simple to adjust. They are also rather simple to get to. This is less than an hour job if you are comfortable with pulling things off.

It requires pulling the side covers, seat and tank in order to access the cover on the intake side.

2 bolts hold the cover on the intake, 3 on the exhaust. Pull the caps on the stater side, bring your piston to top dead center on the compression stroke, and measure with feeler gauges. Loosen your jam nut, and adjust with a 3mm valve adjustment wrench, re-torque the jam nut, double check clearances and put covers back on along with the other bits that were removed on the bike.

So with that now out of the way, I started the bike up, and prepared to take it out for a quick ride.

Put on my gear, put the bike in gear, started to move forward and chug chug, died.

Hit the starter button and nothing. No starter engagement.

Waited a few more seconds, rocking the bike back and forth in neutral, and hit the starter again.

Starter Engaged, and bike roared (I don’t know if roar is the proper term for a 225) back to life.

Started to go forward again heading out of the shop, and blam, died.

Hrmmmm

I looked things over really fast again, pulled the side covers off, checked the battery with my multi-meter, everything checked out, headlight was on, etc.

Got back on the bike, started right back up.

By this point, I took my gear off while checking things out, so I decided to ride around the shop, and up in the field behind it.

It would run a bit, then act like it wanted to die, than back going again. I was well aware at this point that there was most likely a connection that came loose, so I parked the bike in the shop and started to dig into the wire harness.

While digging through, checking the connections, I decided to go ahead and replace my rear turn signals.  With that done, I continued to move forward, unplugging each connection, plugging it back in, until I got to the front.

While at the front of the bike, which is a big ball of wires (If you’ve watched any of the video’s on my youtube account, you’d have seen the mess of wires on the front of this thing), I started to wonder if maybe one of the wires had rubbed through, causing a short against the frame or something.

I turned on the key, and realized something else.

The front right turn signal, which is supposed to be on all the time, along with the left side, was much dimmer than the left. I hit the rear right turn signal, and nothing. I realized that there must be a common wire for those two, and that they were related.

I also noticed at this point, that the tail light did not work, the brake light did not work, as well as high beam.

I hit the starter button, and nothing worked.

So at this point, I realized that I had a bit larger of a problem on my hands than originally thought. It was now dinner time, so I decided to call it a night, locked up the shop, and headed home to my parents to eat dinner, and rest.

Before heading to bed, I left Gus a message, letting him know that my plans for a morning ride would have to be canceled.

Saturday morning I awoke to mom making breakfast. It is one of the great things about going home, is the whole three wholesome cooked meals a day.  This is one of the things I really miss from growing up on the farm.

Breakfast down, I wasted no time to head to the shop and get back to work on the XT.

First off, I started to push and tug on the wire harness, and look for changes. The front light would come on!

So then I moved to bending the wire harness in area’s to see if I could find a change.

Eventually I did. The harness, about halfway through, seemed to make a difference when bent in one spot lightly.

I started the process of unwrapping the harness.

I finally unwrapped the harness past the point I had thought the problem to be, and started to inspect the wires. As I was inspecting each individual one, a wire came out.

It had broke.

Luckily, it was a ground wire, and it was one of the original factory splices where they splice 3 or 4 wires into 1 wire. It was not a really good splice, so I got my soldering iron, spliced it all back up, wrapped it up good, and checked everything out.

By this time, I realized I forgot to turn my key off. I had been playing with a live system the whole time.

No rear tail light, no brake light, no high beam light.

But the blinkers both worked on the right side perfectly.

I scratched my head, and before digging any further, I decided that maybe I should check the bulbs.

Sure enough, with all of the off and on while trying to hold the wire to the rest of them and soldering, the bulbs had just burnt out.

I ran to NAPA, picked up the bulbs, as well as a spark plug. Figured while I may as well replace it.

Replaced the bulbs, and sure enough everything was back to normal!

I put the tank back on the bike, and started it up.

Moved the handlebars around, put the seat on, and took it for a quick spin around the shop.

Ran perfect.

Put the side covers back on, and decided I may as well change the oil while I was thinking about.

Changed the oil, grabbed some lunch from Twin Peaks (my favorite Burger Joint in Oregon!) and decided to head out on a ride.

Up to this point, my weekend had been crap. As much as I do enjoy working on my bikes, I would rather have been spending it riding, than working on my bike that weekend.

Once I was out on the road, heading up the mountains however, I was back at ease.

But that didn’t last long.

As soon as I got to the top of my destination to head off and explore a side road I had previously wanted to explore further from a prior engagement, my clutch cable broke.

S O B

So with that, I babied the bike for my return back to the shop. Matching my RPM’s to shift, I eventually made it home with a good amount of stop signs disregarded.

I would slow down long before the stop side, keeping an eye on oncoming traffic from each directions and walk the bike up towards the intersection, hoping for enough of a brake in traffic in order to safely cross, or turn out on to the shoulder to get up to speed before merging in.

Luckily for me, I only had 1 left turn, the rest were right turns that I was able to just walk the bike on the shoulder.

So needless to say, as soon as I got to the shop, I called Eastside Motosports in Bellevue to order 2 new OEM Cables (I had a new Motion Pro on the bike from the rebuild).

After closer inspection, it looks like the cable end just came off. It does not seem like your standard break you see with most cables.

With the cables ordered, I parked the bike and headed home.

It was only 3pm, and I had nothing to do, so I popped Avatar in the DVD Player.  I’m one of those people who is extremely late to the show, and watched it for the first time.

Sunday morning went by quickly as I changed the oil in my pickup, rotated my tires, made some fire cotton (more on this in a later article), packed up, and headed home.

As I was driving back to Seattle, I realized that I had another clutch cable.

Although I put the Motion Pro on when I rebuilt the bike, the one I replaced was still “Good”, and remembered that it is in my parts bin for the XT.

*smack* I could have been back out enjoying myself within minutes! Oh well.

Heading back I took a detour. I decided to head up Highway 12 off of I-5 towards Morton, and up that way through Elbe on to 7 and then up 161 to Puyallup to 167.

I also made a stop off at a buddy of mines place. We grabbed some dinner at 5 Guys Burgers at The Landing, and sat around and BS’ed for a bit.

He showed me all of his new hiking gear, maps and new camera. He’s wanting to get back into hiking, and I am looking forward to joining him on some excursions this year. Especially some multi-night hikes.

Around 10, I finally headed home, unloaded the XT and my other gear from my pickup, locked up, turned out the lights and drifted to sleep quickly from a mentally exhausting weekend.

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  1. June 2, 2010 at 6:56 AM — Reply

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