Bobby Clarke - 1978 Honda XL250s

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Not sure if this is the correct section for this build. I won't be doing a full factory restoration, but will not be modifying it in anyway like a tracker/cafe. If Tim or one of the mods wants to move this, feel free.

Picked up a 1978 Honda XL250s this past weekend. I've been wanting a dual purpose for quite a while now, but the main reason I bought it was so I could have a project to work on to introduce my son to the wonderful world of working on bikes. He's excited to start, but we'll most likely hold off until his school year is finished in late June. That will hopefully give me time to get some other things completed on the CB350.

The bike is in rough shape and is missing quite a bit of stuff, but I'm hoping we can make a decent road worthy dual purpose out of it. Hope is to use it for some light trails and commuting to work.

Here's a brief rundown of how things look:

  • Engine - not stuck but seller said it won't shift at all. First task will be to have a closer look at this and also check compression
  • Tank - couple of sizable dents but no hard creases so I'm hoping they can be pulled out. Inside is amazingly clean. Petcock still works
  • Frame - bit of rust, but solid and seems straight
  • Seat and Plastics - bit faded but in really good condition for the age
  • Electrics - seem to be a mess, wiring harness looks hacked to bits and no turn signals, brake light, handlebar controls
  • Forks/Steering - everything looks good here, nice and straight
  • Exhaust - headers are quite rusty but solid, muffler is some aftermarket mess
  • Rims - in amazing shape, few scratches and such but no dents or damage. Really please with them.
  • Random Bits - footpeg, kickstarter, kickstand, rear brake lever, shifter, etc. are all horrible and will definitely need some attention. Will need all new cables, chain and sprockets as well
  • Missing parts - no battery holder, hand controls, speedo, lights, plate holder, key/ignition switch. Probably other things as well.

Thats about it at this point, will update when we start in on it next month.



 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Neither one of us could wait until he was out of school for the summer so we did a small bit of work on it this weekend. First thing I taught him was to take a picture of every part of the bike before doing anything with it. I find this practice invaluable as I've often gone back to old photos to see how something goes together. We then drained the gas tank and put in some two stroke oil it in to keep it from rusting, still can't believe how clean it is inside. Drained the oil as well and removed the clutch side cover so that we could clean the oil screen and adjust the balancer. Looked pretty clean in there but there was a small bit of aluminum in the bottom of the pan. Not very much, so hopefully its nothing major but we'll have a look around to see if we can see any cause of it.
 

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HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Home lunchtime and removed the clutch basket, but countershaft won't spin all the way round. Goes around half way and gets stuck. Correct me if I'm wrong, but with the entire clutch basket removed, I should be able to spin the countershaft? Never had time to remove the left side cover, will do that tonight.

The seller said there was an issue with shifting so seems like I'll have to open it up for a look.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Not looking good, took the left side cover off so I could look at the shift bits, but noticed the balancer chain just dangling there :eek: Don't have a good feeling for this engine. Will hopefully get a chance to pull the engine this weekend and go in for a look. Also, few rubber bits came out while I was in there. Thin pieces are hard plastic/rubber and the square piece is rubber.
 

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Maritime

Well-Known Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Not good signs, hope it isn't too bad, but keep in mind these motors are still in production at the same factories in China they have been made for the last 35-40 years. IF you find the right seller you can get a perfectly good one. Some knock offs can be questionable.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

I hope so, don't want to spend a lot of cash on this one. Will know more when I get a chance to open it up, hopefully I can just replace a few parts and get it back together.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Yeah, rest of the bike it in rough but decent shape, if I can save the engine I'll be ok.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

My son then had to leave but I couldn't help popping the head cover off for a look. Cam doesn't look the best, bit burnt? Not much experience with this, but don't think its good. Bearing surfaces look great though. The cam lobes look worse in the pictures than they really do. In the pics is looks like there are chunks missing from the edges of the lobes but they are fine, just some oil on there. They are very smooth, no pitting but the discolouration is disconcerting :-[ Have a bad feeling this may be a boat anchor.
 

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HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Also, forgot to mention, no tension at all on cam chain. Keeps getting better.
 

Rich Ard

doin' the backstroke in an estrogen ocean
DTT BOTM WINNER
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Lobes look pretty good for how awful some of the galling is. It got hot in there.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

What looks like galling in the pics is actually just dirty oil, the lobe surfaces are actually very nice, no pitting or anything. Should have wiped it all down and used a good camera. Agree that it did get hot in there though. Hope to open up the rest throughout the week to see what other surprises await me...can't wait :-\
 

Maritime

Well-Known Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Well hopefully most of it is still in spec and salvagable for this project.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

I hope so too, because finding a replacement engine here on the island is impossible and getting one shipped would cost too much. Going to try and get the head and cylinder off today.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

Productive lunch hour. Got home and was able to remove the head and cylinder. Head looked pretty good, carboned up but nothing out of the ordinary. Removed cylinder and the bore looks absolutely perfect, no groves or nicks, was getting excited. With the exception of the carbon on the top, the piston looked brand new, skirt showed now wear. Was pretty happy then, until I noticed a small crack in the skirt :'( Normally I don't mind a little crack in a skirt ;D but this killed my excitement pretty quick. Overall though, fairly happy, just worried what the bottom end may bring. Also, it seemed like the tensioner is not working correctly, never had time to investigate.
 

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HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

On hold for a bit until I can get an rotor puller. I already have two here in the garage but neither fit, one too big, one too small. Wish Honda would just use a single size for these tools, would make life much easier, and cheaper.
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Re: 1978 Honda XL250s - Semi-Restoration

I'll check, I know the Honda dealer here doesn't loan tools. I asked for a puller for my old 400T before. I can get one shipped in for $19 if I can't get one locally.
 
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