My Old Friend: Part 6 – The Rebirth of an XT

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Well here we are on Article Number 8!  A year later, 8 updates later, and a whole lot to still finish!

Let me tell you, when I sorted through all the bits and pieces this weekend to reorganize everything, I looked at it all and asked “What the hell did I get myself into?”.

It’s not really that their is a lot of pieces, it’s more of a testiment of how far I still have to go on this project! However, I am looking forward to every moment of it!

So, on to this last weekend!

Some good has happened,  some not so good.

First off, I received a few items this week!  The Wheel Bearings came super quick, the air filter came in along with my rear tail light cover, the front fork boots made their way to Oregon, and last but not least, my frame was finished!

Yes! That is a Black Serrow Frame!
Yes! That is a Black XT Frame!

Isn’t that not one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen? That’s what I thought as well.

So yes, the frame has been powder coated, and I must say I am very pleased with the outcome of it.

But, although the frame is completed, I was unable to really start on the reassembly of the bike this weekend, which is the not so good of my update.

The Swing-Arm bearing kit did not show up on time before I left Thursday to Oregon, however, it was waiting for me when I got home Sunday Evening.  But even now, I may not be able to get the swing-arm attached this next weekend due to a bushing missing from the kit.  I have already contacted All-Balls.  If I am really impatient, I guess I could do 1 of 2 things.

1, I could just reuse the old bushing, until the new one comes in. 2, I could just lathe one down. They are derlin, so I could do that as well. I just don’t feel like buying derlin stock to make a single bushing.  But even with this issue, I can at least start getting the front suspension put on, right?

Wrong…

Although I have a new bearing kit for the steering head, it was 260 miles away back here in Washington. Like the absent minded idiot I am at times, I left a box that contained the bearing kit, front and rear sprockets, chain, and petcock rebuild kit here.

So not only could I not rebuild my steering head, I was unable to rebuild my petcock and get it mounted to the new gas tank.  This turned out to be a rather large bummer for me.

However, even with all of the forgotten bits and pieces, I was able to get some things done, which at least made me feel like I was moving forward on this project.

First off, I started working on my carb again. Since I cannot locate a kit for it, I replace what o-rings I could in it, and I also used a bit of RTV on the lower gasket surface just to give the gasket something else to seal against. The float bowl gasket is hard and flat, so I’m afraid of really using it by itself.  I am also afraid of the cost of a new OE one from the dealer.  When the needle is 60 bucks, I cringe at the thought of what a gasket costs. I will eventually have to buy new gaskets and a needle kit, but I’m not ready for that expense yet. The carb should function as is.

Since I was already digging into the carb, I went ahead and put in the new jets and choke knob that I purchased from Pro-Cycle.  I purchased their jet kit, which included an assortment of jets.  I decided to go with what everyone else has been going with to try it out, which is the #130 for the main, and #42.5 for the pilot.  Stock in my year of bike was a #130 and a #40 pilot.

Out with the old, in with the new
Out with the old, in with the new

The old choke system is attached to a cable, which is then routed to the handlebars of the bike.  I’m not a fan of complexities such as that, as it is just more items for problems to arise at the most inopportune times. Also, the cable pull knob no longer actually stayed in place when pulled open, so you had to hold it until the bike warmed up enough to run on its own, which was already a pain in the ass. This is the other must have item I feel for the XT. It can be purchased from Pro-Cycle for 12.95.

Old School Pull Choke. I like simple
Old School Pull Choke. I like simple

So with the carburetor now ready to button up, I decided to take the advice I have read multiple times on the xt225.com forums, and take the opportunity to replace the old steel screws that held the carburetor together with stainless steel socket cap screws.  Not only do the stainless steel socket cap screws look fantastic, they are much more functional than screws, as they are not prone to rounding out as badly.  I also, am a fan of replacing screws and bolts with stainless anyways, so this worked out rather well.

Now with the carburetor out of the way, and now ready to be used (oh please oh please oh please god let it work), I moved on to the other end of the combustion sequence. Yup, if I was working on intake, then that means next was exhaust.

The exhaust was a mess, and when I say a mess, I mean, a mess.  I thought I had photos of it that I took last year, but I cannot find any. It is a shame as well, since I forgot to take photos of it, until I started actually working on it this weekend.

The end cap of the exhaust was easy to take off. All I had to do is smack it lightly with a hammer. Notice I skipped a step their? The whole taking the screw out? Yah, well that was completely rusted away on the inside. In the second photo below, you will notice the large chunk missing.

Not only was that an issue, but when removing the heatshield from the exhaust can, one of the nubs came off.  Luckily, it wasn’t caused by rust, but instead just poor welding.

First, I sand blasted it, and welded on the screw post nub.

XT exhaust sand blasted and nub welded back on.
XT exhaust sand blasted and nub welded back on.

Now, let me tell yah something. I used to do a lot of welding years ago. I grew up on a farm, I spent a lot of time welding odds and ends.  But give me a few years away (when I say a few, I mean the literal anywhere between 3 and 7) and it is like learning all over again.  Without much time welding on thin material, I took the time to start out very cool and work my heat range up, until I got the weld to stick, and the wire fed right.  Not the best weld job I’ve done, but at least it gets covered up with the exhaust cover.

Now that I got that welded up, it was time to start working on the back of the exhaust.  I wasn’t originally sure what I was going to do here.  I needed to make a decision of either welding a new section on, or just cutting it all off, and welding the cap on.  After I drilled out the exhaust (Z1 Mod), I made up my mind to just weld the cap on, and call it good. The exhaust is going to be replaced with an FMF eventually, so no need to make this serviceable.

Here is a pic of the back of the exhaust, as well as the cap.

Back of exhaust - I ended up just cutting this off, due to it being so badly corroded
Back of exhaust - I ended up just cutting this off, due to it being so badly corroded

End Cap - Notice how I have a screw driver under the flange? The welds had rusted out. I ripped it the rest of the way off.
End Cap - Notice how I have a screw driver under the flange? The welds had rusted out. I ripped it the rest of the way off.

So with it all welded up, and fully exposed to the elements, I grabbed a can of high temp black semi-gloss engine enamel and put on 4 or 5 coats.

All welded up and painted!
All welded up and painted!

So all painted up, I let it set over night, and then put the guards back on the exhaust. And because I’m not a fan of shiny, I hit the polished stainless steel guard with the sandblaster. I think it looks much better in my opinion.

XT Exhaust - Sand Blasted, Welded, Painted, Ready to go!
XT Exhaust - Sand Blasted, Welded, Painted, Ready to go!

And since I was in the sand blasting mood, I blasted the skid plate to clean it up. Much faster and effective than water and a brush.

Sand Blasted Skid Plate
Sand Blasted Skid Plate

So other than that, that’s pretty much the extent of what got done this weekend.  I was hoping to have got around to getting the wheel bearings in the wheels, but I just ended up running out of time.  That will be next weekend, which will be a bearing weekend all around. With having the steering stem, wheels, and hopefully the swing-arm out of the way, I can start reassembly, to where all these pieces will start resembling a motorcycle once more.

Well, this is the extent of this update. Like I mentioned, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot got accomplished, but that’s the nature of these types of restorations. Always something else to take your time away.  I also had to make time to work on the exhaust of my street bike. I wanted to finish it off after riding around for almost 2 years with it being held together with 3 small rivets.  I also decided to clean it up with the sandblaster. Yah, I know, I love that thing.

Until Next Time!


Home > Projects > The Bikes > My Old Friend: The Rebirth of an XT > Part 6

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