When Richard isn’t working at GearHead, he spends most of his free time on the seat of an mx bike or next to one with a wrench in his hand. In this this post, Richard will keep us updated on his most recent project, a 2005 YZ250, that he is fixing up to use as a track/race bike.
UPDATE 4: The Final Product
For the finished product I received and put on the rest of the parts. I added an oversized Braking Brake rotor which helps the bike stop on a dime! As for the pipe I threw a FMF Fatty on there, with the factory finish of course. I honestly couldn’t believe how big of a difference this made for the bike. On a 4 stroke adding a pipe just makes a little change in the performance but on this 2 stroke it made the engine act in a total different way. It completely changed where the power band hit. With the stock pipe the power band hit hard on the bottom end and signed off towards the top. The Fatty pipe changes the power band to pull pretty evenly. And I added the infamous Motoseat to help me stay on this wild beast! There is no better way to update the look of an 11 year old bike than to put 2016 plastics on it, so I called the guys up at gearhead.com to get the conversion kit for it. As for the graphics kit I emailed Black Diamond MX and told them a general idea of what I wanted and they absolutely hit it out of the park. They made any changes I wanted to the graphics kit and then sent them out to me. The graphics are made of quality material and are the best graphics I have ever put on a bike. I am really excited with how the bike turned out! It runs great and looks pretty great too.
My first order of parts came in from Gearhead.com! I ordered all the stuff to get the bike in decent riding condition. The first thing I ordered with Gearhead was a uni air filter. I love their inner/outer filter design! The outside filter is supposed to grab the bigger stuff and the inner filter grabs the smaller things that usually cause engine damage. Use one of these filters and they will help you sleep better at night knowing that your engine is breathing the cleanest air it possibly can!
I threw on some clean Tag grips as well. They are pretty similar to ProTaper’s pillow tops but they help cushion your hands a little more. I figure this will help with the 2-stroke vibration.
I robbed a works connection holeshot device and a set of Sunline levers from one of my other bikes. I used to go through levers all the time. One spring I snapped 3 front brake levers in a month. Then I got these Sunline levers. They flex forward like the ASV levers but they also pivot up and down so almost no matter how you impact them they just move out of the way. Now whenever I go down in a corner all I have to do is pick the bike back up and keep shredding! The best part is if they do break, they come with a warranty so all you have to do is call Sunline up and they will get you taken care of!
The last thing on my order from Gearhead was a set of Pirelli Extra X tires. I’ve tried out a lot of different tires since I’ve started riding and these are by far my favorite tires! The tire design makes it so the side nobs don’t come off prematurely like dunlops tires do. They must be putting some kind of magic in the tires at Pirelli because the tread doesn’t seem to round off near as fast as other tires. All these things make it so the traction is great and stays that way for at least twice as long as most other tires out there!
As for my suspension I decided I would just upgrade by getting a used suspension off a newer bike and sending that to rg3 for them to trick out! This way I will have the new SSS forks and a heavier duty rear shock! I checked around and found someone who had a suspension off a 2008 yz450f and they also had some spiffy wheels that I was able to snag from them for pretty cheap so why not kill two birds with one stone right?
The whole drive home I was wondering what could be wrong with the suspension so I decided to dive into that one first. Clearly the problem
with the rear suspension was simply that it had been leaking for over ten years and had no more fluid left in it. The front suspension is a little different though. It wasn’t leaking at all but I could hear the springs clapping inside the tubes. I decided to take the forks apart and noticed that the bottom of the cartridges were stripped out so the bottom fork tubes weren’t even bolted on. The only thing holding my front tire on was a snap ring! At this point I knew I was going to have to fork out some serious money for this suspension (pun not intended).
While test riding the bike I also noticed that the pipe was pretty smashed up and the tip of the foot peg on the right side was somehow sheared off! I can’t even imagine how that would have happened. While checking the
wheel bearings to see what condition they were in I noticed that the rear rim had a nice crack in it! Definitely going to have to get a set of those.
When I took the seat off to check the air filter my heart sunk. The air filter was falling apart and didn’t look like it had ever had any oil put on it! At that point I had to call it a day. I just couldn’t handle thinking about how much torture this poor yz had received over the past 10 years.
After a night full of weeping in the fetal position and a handful of nightmares about engines seizing, I decided to crack open the engine and see the damage. To my utmost surprise everything looked really good! I guess the bike just hadn’t been ridden since the air filter started to fall apart.
Now that I had gone through a large part of the bike I decided to give GearHead a call and get some parts on their way!
ORIGINAL POST 6/3/2016
I have always had a 4 stroke bike. I first started riding in 2007 on a crf250r. Since then I have had my fair share of 250f’s and 450’s. I soon realized that since I wasn’t fortunate enough to be born in this celestial sport that I completely missed the whole 2 stroke stage. This definitely puts me at a disadvantage since 2 strokes take A LOT more work to get around a track quickly! So I decided I should figure out what those massive pipes wrapped around the frame are all about.
Unfortunately, finding a race ready 2 stroke on the budget of a married
college student starting a family proved to be difficult if not impossible. This is exactly where Gearhead.com comes in to save the day! But we will get back to that a little later. First let me introduce to you the bike I ended up purchasing.
After searching all winter for an off season deal, I ended up purchasing a used 2005 Yamaha yz250. As you can see in the photos above of me bringing it home, it came with a Pro Moto Billet kickstand, Cycra hand guards and a FMF silencer (can’t really see in the pic sorry), but other than that it’s basically stock. I knew right off, the hand guards and kickstand will need to go since this is going to be set up for the track. I was pretty excited to see the FMF silencer because I have always been a FMF fan. While test riding the bike I noticed that everything on the bike felt nice and tight except the suspension. Something was definitely wrong there but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was. I decided that I would take the risk on the suspension and get the bike anyways, I mean what else is a college kid going to do when he gets a whiff of that premix?
I was super pumped to get the bike home and tear into it and see what goodies I could get from Gearhead.com.
In the next post I’ll take a look at what the issue is with the suspension and look at some bolt on aftermarket parts.
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So a little background on this little atv. My father bought a couple of these moto4 Yamaha Badgers when I was around 9 or 10 if I remember right (around 1993 or 1994). The two atvs were almost identical except the other one had red fenders instead of black. I remember both machines running decent but this black fender atv always was the slower one and as the years went by, this one was always harder to start and keep idling okay. Eventually the only way we could get it started was to push or pull start it as it just never would fire up cold with the electric start. In the course of riding over the years, the front air filter housing became broken, the seat was recovered by my mother who sewed a new one. These machines were well loved in my childhood but over the years, they were neglected and mostly forgotten.
Fast forward to today. After charging the battery, which miraculously seems to still hold a charge after sitting all winter, I put some gas in it and with the help of some pliers turned the petcock to the reserve setting and turned it over. By some miracle, it eventually started with full choke but only with full throttle held down and this is on a warm summer day. Even then it barely stays running. It will not idle and even when it does run it dies shortly after either from too much fuel or too little (my first thought is float needle valve setting). I also noticed the intake boot is not connected to the air filter housing I’m guessing it will need a carb clean and hopefully the cylinder is still okay with who knows how much unfiltered air going through there. The only way to move the petcock valve is with a firm twist with pliers so that will be replaced with a new oem petcock. With how it ran in the past, it might be due for a new top end rebuild but I was not able to test compression yet. For now, some new carburetor parts are on the way and a fresh oem fuel petcock.
Step 2: Rebuilding the carburetor
In a past blog post, I wrote about how to clean a carb so it will work again, because of the age and severe conditions of this carburetor (lot of unfiltered air and possibly gas flowing through it) I opted to rebuild the whole carburetor with a rebuild kit that included 2 new jets, idle screw, idle mixture screw, new gaskets, float needle valve, jet needle and adjustment clip and tension spring. Once the parts arrived I went to opening up the carburetor and seeing the damage and get to cleaning.
There was lots of debris and sediment in the bottom of the float bowl so that was worrisome. I figured if I got it all back together and there was low compression or it still had issues that I could always redo the top end fairly cheap. Below are pictures of the carb rebuild process which consisted of thoroughly cleaning all the carburetor parts and then putting the new rebuild part in.
Once I had everything in place, I still had to fix the issue of the intake. After brainstorming a bit and not being able to get the intake boot connected to the intake/filter housing, I opted to go with a cheap pod filter for now until I can figure out a better method.
I ordered a low profile one thinking it would be best to have it short so it wouldn’t touch anything but after it arrived, I realized it was directly in the way of the choke lever. I ended up going with one that had a boot at a 90 angle which seems to work great although I think water crossings could pose an issue unless I put a prefilter on it. My eventual plan is to find route it into the original air filter housing with a longer 35mm hose but for now this setup seems to work fine. The last issue was the tires being dry rotted and cracked and one not holding air at all. I decided to test the limits of slime before trying to buy new tires and I was able to break that limit with a large crack right in the tread of one tire. I ordered some new tires (Kenda K530 18×7-7) which are an inch bigger than the stock size but they still fit the bill. (it helps that there is not suspension on this machine) I had replaced the rears with the same tire as well not long ago so now all 4 tires match although they are slightly different sizes from stock but that’s all I could find close enough to the stock tire sizes which were 17×7-7 stock front and 18×8-7 rear stock size replaced with these Kenda Pathfinder K530 18×7-7 all around. Once I got the carburetor back on and the pod filter installed, it only took minor adjustments of the idle mixture and idle speed screws and she was purring like a kitten. I also drained the old oil which was last changed who knows when and topped it off with some fresh 10w-30 oil. Overall I spent less than $100 and she runs as good as she did 20 years ago!
Due to minor repairs needed from a wreck a couple years ago (bent handlebars, broken off mirror, cracked throttle grip, snapped tibia, etc.) my 1984 Honda Shadow didn’t get ridden much recently (as in a handful of times in 2 years). Now that weather is good and most things have been repaired, I went to pull the bike out and to my dismay, I could only get it to idle and only so with the choke on. Every time I tried to rev it at all, it would die even after letting it warm up for a while. After a few seconds of deep thought, I realized that one or both jets must be clogged and I initially dreaded having to clean these since as far as I know they have never been off the bike and there are two carbs crammed in between the cylinders. After taking a good look, I realized it shouldn’t be too bad in taking those off and giving them a much needed cleaning. Whether you have an 50cc motorcycle or a 1600cc v-twin, the general principle for cleaning a carb is the same and in most cases (not all), plugged jets or passages are what cause a motor not to run if it’s been sitting awhile and ran fine previously.
I won’t go through the fine details of removing my carbs from this bike in particular but my goal is to show you how to clean a carb quickly and efficiently to get your machine running again. In my case I had a good idea that the pilot/secondary/slow jets were plugged hence any attempt past a choke enriched idle resulted in fuel starvation. In my case even barely twisting the throttle would kill it. Enough rambling, let’s get it taken apart and cleaned!
You’ll want a clean work space where you can put your carburetor and small parts once you get it off the machine. I used a piece of particle board that I had laying around and put a couple shop towels on it.
Start by removing anything in the way of taking off the carbs. In this case I had to remove the gas tank (which required removing the seat) and air intake (old plastic ones like mine can be brittle so work in warm weather and be gentle). From there I unbolted the throttle linkage from the side of the carburetors and then loosened all the carburetor boots (both inlet and outlet of the carburetors). There was also a choke cable actuated plunger that screwed into the side of each carburetor that I removed and left hanging.
Once you have the carburetor(s) removed, take them to a clean work space and remember that the float bowls will probably be full of gasoline so make sure to drain them (some have drain screw on bottom of float bowl or you can just gently tip them back and forth and upside down until all
the fuel comes out) out so you don’t have a puddle on your bench when you start opening them up.
First things first, take off the float bowl so you can access the float, float
valve, and jets. This is usually secured with 4
screws. If yours has a rubber gasket like mine, you might get lucky and get away with reusing it but gaskets are cheap, so it’s always a good idea to replace it anyways.
Once you have the carb bowl off, remove the jets with a wrench or screw driver. If you do more than one carburetor, keep the
jets separate so you know which carb they go to as sometimes there will be different sized jets on one carb (my main jets were different sizes). As you can see from the pictures, my main jet was clear as I suspected but my pilot jet was completely plugged up on both carburetors. To remedy this, I used a piece of copper wire from some stranded 10 gauge automotive wire and carefully twisted it into the clogged portion until I got it to go
through. Then I fished it all the way through and worked it back and forth like dental floss. This has worked well for me and is cheap! Makes sure all the side holes in the jet tubes are clear as well. For good measure, I took all the jets from both carburetors and boiled them in a pan (wife was not home at the time) for a couple minutes to make sure any varnish got cleaned out then dried them out and made sure they all looked good.
While you have the bowls off, look for any other dirty spots like the bottom of the float bowls and clean any gunk out. Mine had some residue in the bottom that probably wouldn’t affect operation but could clog a jet or passage if it came loose or built up more. Also inspect your floats for any cracks or issues (gas inside the floats) and inspect and clean the rubber tip on your float needle valve as well as where it seats. If the valve seat is gunked up or the carb overflows occaisionally, you can use a q-tip and some toothpaste to clean it up. For more on that visit an old blog post of mine about fixing a leaking or over flowing carb.
Depending on what symptoms or how dirty your carb is, you may want to remove the slide needle (aka jet needle) to clean it and inspect the slide and rubber slide diaphragm if you have a vacuum actuated slide. I find that bare minimum, you should spray down the slide with carb cleaner
before assembly since dirt and things typically get stuck on the slide when removing it from the bike. Make sure the diaphragm is not cracked and looks in good shape and check to make sure the slide operates smoothly up and down and that the jet needle is clean. Mine had some varnish build up that was easily cleaned off.
Before assembling the carburetor back together to put back on the bike, I cleaned out the area where the choke plunger goes as it had some dirt or rust buildup that must have got inside the boot and I also sprayed carb cleaner in all the small holes on the carburetor to make sure none were plugged up. After that, put everything back together the same order you took it apart and put it back on the bike! My choke plungers consist of a plastic post that screws into the carburetor so I had to be extra careful not to strip those out. Getting the carbs back onto the boots took some finagling but I finally got them all on. The true test is getting the bike altogether and firing it up for the first time. As I hoped, it started right up after a few cranks and when I started to twist the throttle, it didn’t die! Mission accomplished and my bike is back to it’s normal rev loving self.
I hope this write up helps with your carb issues. Comment below if you have any specific questions. -Matt
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Fast, loud, and maneuverable might be one way to summarize your snowmobile, but today we’re talking about how to “summer”ize a sled. With spring on it’s way this week, the white stuff will soon be melting. When it comes time to put the snowmobile away for the summer in the coming weeks, this guide will show you how to do it right. You’ll find that if you take care of your sled during the summer months, you won’t have any problems when old man winter rears his ugly head again.
Change the Oil: Change out the chain case oil. On four stroke sleds, change the crankcase oil and oil filter. Oil breaks down over time and builds up corrosive particles from engine combustion so it’s important to have fresh oil in it even though it will be sitting for the summer.
Give It A Bath: Take your snowmobile to a car wash or use a high pressure washer to clean off all the crap and grime from the track, runners, and suspension. Clean everything under the hood but don’t use the high pressure spray for that to avoid forcing water into any electrical components. If you do want to use the sprayer just keep it a good 5ft away from the machine. If you have a lot of oil and grime under the hood, use a foaming degreaser and let it set, then rinse it off after 20 min or so. Take off the clutch cover clutch cover and drive belt and clean pulleys with a clean rag or shop towel and some light duty solvent.
Wax and Dry: Once your done cleaning, dry everything off and protect it with a good quality wax. This will extend the life of your plastics and also make it easier to keep clean.
Lubricate: Make sure to grease the sled at all grease zerks (see photo) with special attention to suspension components. New grease will allow your suspension to work better, but also protect against moisture. It’s also a good idea to lubricate your engine cylinders with an upper cylinder lubricant of fogging oil. Doing so will help prevent early engine failure by keeping moisture off of the internals engine parts (valves, piston, rod, etc.). Some engines like the E-Tec have a program that will fog the engine with extra oil for storage. Give other external metal parts a good wipe down or spray with some light oil to keep them from rusting or corroding as well. Just make sure not to get any oil on the clutch or CVT components or belts.
Stabilize Gas: Add some fuel stabilizer to your tank to keep the fuel from deteriorating over the summer. Follow the directions on the bottle for the correct mixing procedure. Topping off the tank with fuel is not necessary.
Jack it Up: It’s a good idea to keep the skis and track off the ground for the summer by suspending the sled from your garages ceiling if possible (may sound strange, but we’re serious). If you can’t hang it, prop the tunnel up with something and also place something under the body to keep the skis off the ground. Doing so will keep pressure off the suspension and keep the skis and track from deforming under the weight of the sled all summer. Keeping the skis off the ground will help rust on carbides, especially if the sled is stored outside.
Protect from Mice: Rodents and other creatures sometime find their way into your sled for the summer. Steel wool works well at keeping mice out of the exhaust, and dryer sheets or moth balls around the sled will help deter other furry and creeping things from finding a summer home in your snowmobile.
Remove Battery (if equipped): Take out the battery and put it on a float charger to extend the life of the battery and ensure it’s in good order when you go to ride your sled when winter comes.
Cover It: UV light from the sun will fade and weaken plastics as well as deteriorate the rubber in your track. If you don’t have a place to store it inside a garage or shed, at least invest in a snowmobile cover. Waterproof but breathable covers will help prevent moisture from building up on the sled and components.
Ever had your sled break down on a ride or hit a stump or rock and break an A-Arm? If so you know how important it is to have some tools handy for such a situation where you have to do some snowmobile trail repair. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best tools to have in a pinch while out on your sled in the snow.
Tool Kit – Most snowmobiles come equipped with a basic tool kit. Make sure yours has one with the essentials in it. They vary slightly between models but for the most part, it should include a spare drive belt, spare spark plugs, spark plug wrench, belt removal tool, and some basic tools such as a screw driver and some common wrench sizes. You’ll usually find it under the hood/panels, or possibly under the seat.
Oil & Fuel – Especially if your sled is a 2 stroke, you’ll want to bring along some spare oil. You may be religious about keeping your oil topped off before each ride, but there may be that one time you forget and you’ll be glad you had extra oil to get you back to the trail head. If you have room, or a way to carry it such as on this tunnel mounted tank, spare gas is always a great idea even if you don’t end up using it for obvious reasons.
Tie-Down Straps – It’s a good idea to carry at least 2 tie-down straps with you at all times. Think of them as a giant zip tie, tow strap, recovery strap, and more. The potential uses are endless. For instance, in the unlucky event you break an A-Arm or snap a spindle on a tree, you can lash the a-arm and ski together with tie-down. Once it’s lashed together use the other tie-down to lash it to the back and side of your buddies sled for the tow home. Ratchet tie-downs with high test strength are probably the best type, but any standard tie-downs should get the job done.
Zip Ties, Duct Tape, and Baling Wire – With this magical combination, there’s practically nothing you can’t fix (at least temporarily). These were definitely in Macgyver’s tool kit. From coolant hoses, electrical fixes, linkage repairs, and more, a roll of duct tape, 10ft of baling wire, and a bag of zip ties are worth their weight in gold when something breaks.
We recommend keeping these essentials in a snowmobile mounted bag so you have the freedom of not having to wear a backpack while riding.We hope this list will help save you from having to ride out on the back of your buddies sled instead of yours when you run into trouble (or a tree). If there’s anything else you know belongs on this list, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.