My Old Friend: Part 7 – The Rebirth of an XT

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It’s interesting to look back on any given task, look at what you expected to complete in a limited amount of allotted time, and realize just how much you suck at time management.  Regardless if the reasons you were not able to finish what you had expected to were due to your own procrastinations or not.

That is kind of the thought for this weekend.

What I set out to do this weekend, was finish what I was unable to do last weekend. Which was put the engine in the frame, swing-arm attached, wheel bearings put in, steering stem with front suspension put on, and wheels so it will stand on its own.

What I did get this weekend, was a lot of sit down, rethink planning, a lot of back and forth driving all over the place, and then just a lot of bull shitting.

In other words, let me tell you what got completed, since this is kind of what these little updates are about, eh? 🙂

Friday I didn’t get anything much accomplished. In fact, after work on Friday I drove to Portland to the Harbor Freight to pick up a couple things for myself and my father. He needed a new screwdriver and nut driver set, and I needed an Inside Bearing Puller. After years of using long punches, and wooden dowels and other things, I decided it was time to finally get one, and I just got myself a 15% off coupon, so what the hell.

I get back to the shop, and start to move stuff in.  The biggest issue with not having my own shop anymore and using my dad’s, is everything has to be moved out when I head back to Washington for the week. So I have everything packed up and put in my storage container, then I need to unpack it.  This takes a bit of time as one can imagine.

By the time I get everything moved in, it is starting to get dark, so I decide that maybe I should just concentrate on getting the engine cleaned up.

I grab the engine, and the wheels since they are another piece I am working on this weekend, and pressure wash them.

I dry them off with compressed air, fill up the crank case to the top with oil and spray it down with WD-40, and set them aside.

I for some reason decide now that I remembered the parts to my petcock, I should rebuild it. I hit the old petcock with the sand blaster, assemble it, and throw it on the gas tank.  I still need to buy the turn knobby thing.  Expensive bugger at 16 bucks.

Petcock Sandblasted and Rebuilt
Petcock Sandblasted and Rebuilt

With that out of the way, my dad comes into the shop, asks if I still planned on getting pizza for dinner, and left me. Odd, I don’t remember saying I was getting pizza for dinner, but I like his way of thinking for me.  So I turn off the lights, lock up, and go get pizza for dinner.

Saturday I wake up, and while having morning coffee, I’m battling with one of the major issues I’ve come to a crossroads with.

There are aspects of the bike, I did not want to change, and wanted to leave completely as is. This is more or less just to keep “Original” pieces on the bike to show its past. One of these pieces was the steering stem.

Originally I wanted to powder coat everything. Then during the extended break I took on this project, I decided not to powder coat that, and I went with it.

After spending time going through it in my head, I decided to go with powder coating it. I came to the conclusion after thinking about the bike overall, and realizing the engine itself, is the original. It is beat up, scratched up, has places that are worn and show its age. The heart of the beast, the center of the soul, is good enough of a testament to it.

Now this brought up another issues.

I needed an oven large enough to do the steering stem. A small toaster oven is not going to work for it, due to its complex and odd shape.

So I jump on craigslist, and start searching for ovens.  I find plenty of older ones that in need of some repair to the main oven part of it cheap. What I need is a working oven, and cheap. Two things that I don’t think I can really accomplish, but hey, I keep checking.

I eventually come across an ad for an oven/range combo for $35. I click on the link, and it says it is a newer over, they are upgrading appliances, want it out of there. Only issue is the front glass is broken out. The heat barrier glass is still there, just the decorative (and really protective) glass is missing.

This sounds perfect!

I shoot them an email with my number and ask if they still have it. After that I head down to the shop to start working on the bike.

First thing I accomplish in the morning is getting the engine in the frame.  It has been a year since I took this thing apart, so trying to remember everything in reverse proves to be a challenge in itself, so I just go for it.

After some wrestling for awhile, I finally achieve my goal! Hurray! (And I just realized I forgot to torque the bolts down… Gotta remember to double check all bolts once I’m down with this!)

The engine finally rests inside its body once more
The engine finally rests inside its body once more

So with the engine tucked away in its body, I decided to move on to and complete the other item I wanted to finish up the week before, and that was the wheel bearings.

With my new handy blind hole bearing remover, I set forward to my task.

Blind Hole Bearing remover. Buy one, you won't regret it!
Blind Hole Bearing remover. Buy one, you won't regret it!

The tool makes easy work, of a once pain in the ass job, and all of the bearings come out easy as can be.

However, one comes out way to easy.

On the rear wheel, the outside bearing of the drive side (For those not familiar, their are two bearings back to back on the sprocket side) came out way to easy. After inspecting it, it realized that the bearing had seized at one time, and spun in its space.  A spun bearing is never a good thing, but it didn’t have any side to side slop play. It was a clean spin, and so I decided to use an old time remedy to fix it.

First, we need a few items.

The items needed to fix a spun bearing: Center Punch, Hammer (Isn't that one just so cute!), Loctite 242, and a new bearing.
Bearing Fixer Upper Tools! Isn't the hammer sooooo cute!

A center punch and hammer, Loctite 242 (Blue) and a new bearing.

I went with RBI Premium sealed bearings to go back in the wheels after searching for sealed bearing replacement options.

First step, dimple the side wall of the surface with the center punch.  Try and make sure you keep all of the dimples in the area that the bearing is going to rest.

Lots of little dimples!
Lots of little dimples!

With the dimples out of the way, next we put a coat of loctite around the bearing. Take your time, wipe off any excess that gets on the sides of it. Even though it is a sealed bearing, it’s always smart to practice some caution.

Thin film of loctite 242 on bearing.
Thin film of loctite 242 on bearing.

With that out of the way, press the bearing back in and normal. This time you should notice that it actually takes a bit of force to get the bearing in!

Bearings pressed firmly into hub
Bearings pressed firmly into hub

I realize there are going to be some people who are completely against this, and I completely understand that. However, I grew up on a farm, with heavy machinery, and this was common practice, and not once did it ever cause a problem.  Also, due to the fact that their already is very little material, sleeveing may not really be an option here.  Also, as you can notice, I decided to put my new 50t sprocket on.  I think I may buy another though, that’s a bit lower for town riding.  I don’t see myself really getting in to the mountains much this winter, but we will see. Their is always the Olympic Range and Peninsula to explore!

So now with this completely out of the way. I decide to move on to getting the swing-arm attached to the bike.

Now, one of the biggest problems I should have taken care of last year after disassembly is I should have cleaned all of my parts.  Instead I put them in bags, and left them in their dirty, greasy, caked on messes that they are.

Also, I realized my dad no longer has a parts washer, which really poses an problem with trying to clean things up.

So with all the bits and pieces in hand to attach the swingarm, I grab a couple brass brushes (and a brass pipe cleaning brush) and start to work with some shop cleaner and start cleaning the parts.

It is about this time, when I’m a complete mess, that my phone rings.  Hey, remember that oven I had sent an email about? They are getting back to me about it!

They tell me it is still available, I double check on the price ($35 bucks) ask them to make sure it still works, they say they will pay me if I get it home and it does not, and we set a time to meet.

Now, since they live about an hour and a half from where I live, I run home, clean up, and head to pick up the oven.

What should have been a quick 3 hour trip (hour and a half each way), turned into a bit more of a pain in the ass.

Now, anyone familier with the Pacific Northwest, knows that Fall is rain season, and that sometimes we get terential downpours. Saturday was just that. Going down I-84 through Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge, I a nearly traffic stopping downpour.  Traffic creeped along at 35mph. After what seemed like forever (about 20 minutes) the rain let up enough for me (I say me, because I run 4 wheel drive with Rain Specific Designed Tires on my rig. A sport car with summer tires is not safe to go through puddles with) to safely travel the speed limit.

I finally get the Oven, and head back.  All in all, the trip took me just over 4 hours.

Back at the shop, I unload the oven.  I make plans to head to Home Depot that night to get an outlet for it, so we can wire one in, however I get back to working on the swing-arm again.

I start off where I left off with cleaning. I get things clean to my liking, and start assembly.  Again, this is one of those “It’s been a year” moments, and I manage to put the lower link on backwards, which binds the swing-arm in one position.  No problem, I pull the swing-arm off, turn everything around, and put it all back on.

I am happy with my progress, and go to grease all of the zerks when I realize that there are 2 pins that are exactly the same. The only difference between the two is one has a 90 degree zerk, the other is a straight zerk. A 50 percent chance that I would put them in the wrong place, and of course, my luck, the are.

So I pull the swing-arm off again, change the pins, retorque everything, and grease it all up.

Now, it is at this point, that I realize I forgot the chain guide. I am now saying all kinds of 4 letter words that you typically shouldn’t teach your youngens, and pull the swing-arm off AGAIN.

Now, I double check everything. Put it back on, retorque AGAIN, and call it good.

With the swing-arm in place this is starting to look like a bike again!
With the swing-arm in place this is starting to look like a bike again!

Now at this point, I realize I had forgot to solve a problem that I ran into actually a year prior.

On the kickstand area of the frame, their is a nub that sticks out, that a plate rests on, that the kickstand spring is connected to.

Well, years and years ago, this nub had worn down from years of use. Dirt + Movement = Wear.

It eventually broke off, and so I had welded a small nub on to what was left and attached  a spring from an old DT175 rigged in its place as they are longer, and allowed operation of the kickstand.

This nub that sticks out, is actually not welded to the frame, and is actually pressed in, which is good, cause that means something else can be pressed in.

I went to work on making a new nub on the lathe.

Making a new nub out of a bolt
Making a new nub out of a bolt

The diameter of the hole is 8mm (technically 7.84mm). I start to turn down a portion of the shaft to 8mm.

The plate that attaches has a maximum diameter of 8mm with a minimum of 5mm.  So the head of the nub must be no more than 8mm, but less than 5mm on the shaft portion that sticks out from the frame.

More Lathe Work
More Lathe Work

I than round off the head of the nub, and put it in the frame, attach the kickstand, the plate, and go to attach the spring, and… Damnit, it’s too short.

This kinda ticks me off, but it’s my own damned fault for not really taking the time to figure out how much it needed to stick out to attach the spring.

This is where I need help from the community of those who own XT225’s. If you could measure the overall length of that nub, from base to end cap, and let me know, that would be more appreciated.

The other thought I had is, to tap the hole, and use a socket cap bolt to go into it. This may actually solve my problem, as I could then just unscrew the nub when it starts to wear out, and screw in a new one. I need to think this one through.
For those who have an XT225, this is the nub I am talking about.

A Shiny Nub
A Shiny Nub

Because I am meeting a friend for breakfast in the morning, I realize that Sunday will be shot. So I start to clean up. Dad informs me, that I can leave everything in the shop, since I am coming back for next weekend.  I tie down the bike to the stand, to make sure it can’t be knocked off, and pack it all up.

All packed up, until next weekend
All packed up, until next weekend

At this point, it was much later than I thought it was, and was unable to make it to the Home Depot to get an outlet for the oven.

I would have loved to have got the steering stem on this weekend, but it just was not in the cards. Also, I decided instead of coating the stem black, I am going to go with gray, which I ordered yesterday on ebay.

In fact, all of the frame accents will be gray.  I will do the stem, pegs, and other little bits and pieces.  This will help tie in the desert theme even more.

I can’t complain, as I originally mentioned, any progress is good progress.

A few items I think I forgot to mention that I have purchased in the last couple weeks.

I bought a Spitfire Wind Shield after reading much about it. After some time looking at it, I think I will need to make some extensions for it, to properly get it to the correct height/angel for proper usage. I am not 100% certain on this, but we’ll see. I really wanted it for extended riding to and from locations.

I also bought a TrailTech Vapor computer and indicator replacement. When I get around to milling my mounts for the headlight and turn signals, I will figure it all in to mount this as well.

Tires!  Yes, I finally decided on tires. I am going with the Pirelli Scorpion MT90 A/T. They are a 70/30 tire, which is what I really wanted to stick with. Also along with that I also ordered new tubes.

Well, I think that is about it! Hopefully next weekend will be a crash course in powder coating, stem installation (with bearings) and getting the bike on its own two wheels!

Until Next Time!

Home > Projects > The Bikes > My Old Friend: The Rebirth of an XT > Part 7


  1. […] Part 7: Published 10-19-09 […]

  2. […] Part 7: Published 10-19-09 […]

  3. Michael Greenwell
    October 19, 2009 at 9:19 AM — Reply

    It’s always a good idea to take digital photographs of something that is going to be disassembled (especially if there will be a lengthy period between reassembly) so that you will be able to assemble things correctly and in the correct order! Don’t forget to load those photos into your computer, so that they don’t get inadvertently erased!

    • October 19, 2009 at 9:54 AM — Reply

      Yah, I thought of that actually when I was putting it back together. I actually usually just rely on the exploded parts diagrams to put things back together. I however, forgot to download them on to my netbook that I had at the shop. I had the manual, but it does not have the best assembly pictures.

  4. October 20, 2009 at 8:22 PM — Reply

    Dude this is awesome, I’d put into my living room 🙂

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