Don't Ask: Dirtbike Reader Questions

Feb. 02, 2009 By Rick Sieman

DIRE WARNINGS AND THINGS YOU OUGHT TO KNOW

If you choose to email a question to this forum, then you must conduct yourself accordingly. Therefore, the following rules are in order:

1. Do not write your email to me IN CAPS. If you do so, I will print out your question and do terrible things to it.

2. Do not request a personal email response. Since I get thousands of questions each month, trying to answer them all would cut deeply into my leisure time, which I value more than your current state of confusion.

3. Try to spell at least in a semi-correct fashion. If you choose to mangle the English language, expect no mercy from this quarter. You might be mocked severely.

4. Do not ask for me to send you copies of my many manuals and literature. I am not in the library business, nor do I want to spend the bulk of my day at the copy machine just because you're too lazy to ask your dealer, or look around a bit.

5. Don't bother me with truly stupid questions, like how to get 50 more horsepower for a buck and a half

6. Now that you know the rules, think carefully and have at it!

Oh yes … I'll leave your email unedited, for what it's worth.

SUBJECT: THE ETERNAL QUEST FOR POWER

Hi I've got and XR200 and want a lot more power out of it. The only problem is that I only got abot 20 bux to spend on it. So what is the best way to maybe 20 more hsosrespower?

Terry
Mobile, AL

You violated rule number 5 in my guidelines. There is NO WAY (caps intended) that you're going to double your power for 20 dollars.

***

SUBJECT: YAMAHA TTR125 SHUTS OFF WHILE RUNNING

hey i have a tt-r 125 and it is messed up. It keeps on shutting off on me after a while of rideing, i tried changing the spark plug and cleaning the air filter, but after a short ride the spark plug was really black and it started shutting off on me again. What should i do?
Big Mac
Blythewood, AL

Chances are you're jetted horribly rich, or your air filter is so filthy it looks like a peeled peach that's been rolled in a sand pit. Try the correct jetting.

***

SUBJECT: BLM LAND CLOSURE IN OREGON

Rick,

Im a long time fan of yours and have enjoyed your antics and writeings throughout the years. I live in Grants Pass, Oregon. There is a large BLM area north of town where we have been rideing whithout problem for the past three decades and longer. The BLM has all of a sudden come in and started closing trail. They had a meeting with whomever is concerned last week at a local high school.

The jist of it was that they must now take control of where we ride so as not to have a damaging impact on the eco system. Although this has been a designated OHV area open to vehicles both motor and non, they wish to claose down the 90K acres to approx 40 miles of controled single track. What up with that? This is public land and I know you know the deal. Any help would be appreciated since they have just hired two full time officers who will check for OHV stickers and valid drivers licences on dirt bike and quad riders. I'ts coming down to it and I didnt know if you were aware of this.

Thanks and have a great holliday with your family and keep up the good work!

Kevin Newins 52 yr old vet rider and grandpa of future riders


Kevin, the sad fact is that the large majority of the riders out there do absolutely nothing when it comes to fighting for keeping public land open. Louis McKey and I started the Sahara Club to fight for land back in the'80s and literally beat our brains out with little support from the riders or the industry. At one point Louis and I owed our lawyers almost $300,000. After a decade of fighting, we decided it was a lost cause and Louis moved to Colorado in the back country and I moved to Baja. If the off-roading community ever decides to get off its dead ass, we'd be ready to take up the charge. Until then, we're very disappointed.

***

SUBJECT: IS MAICO BACK?

What a great thing to possably see MAICO back on the scene.I look forward to checking them out more and hopefully purchasing one,a 500cc.There is a stong scooter demand here.I don't know why you would say there isn't.I would be interested in one of those also.250CC Model?

Thanks
Larry Weeks Jr.
San Diego, CA
Don't hold your breath. The license to build and sell Maicos is held by a Dutch company and they don't have a dealer network. However, keep posted as something is in future (maybe) by the end of the year.

***

SUBJECT: CAN'T AFFORD TO RIDE?

Hey i been riding my Suzook rm80 for 1 yer now and my mom givs me 2o Bucks a week for gas n oil but when gas wint up to 5 bux a gallon i could \only git 1 can of gas and that woud last mabee a day and that was it so what do i do if gas gos back up in price huh\ can I git a sponser

Billy The Kid

Oh yes indeed. Why don't you get a job, Billy? There are cars to be washed and lawns to be cut.

***

SUBJECT: 94 KX 250 FUEL PROBLEM

I have a 94 kx250 top & bottom end rebuilt ran fine for 6 months good compression like over night i start my bike 1 2 kicks it runs but wont hit band properly i changed the plug gear oil cleaned the carb LIKE 10x but with no change but i found out by accident if i leave the fuel off it will run a minute still not hitting band then it all comes back it will go good untill the bowl runs out of fuel the needle & seat /float all work i took the bowl off hooked the fuel on held the float up the fuel stops let it go the fuel flows whats wrong with my bike plz help
Josh
Ipswich, AUSTRALIA


You might have held the float up and stopped the fuel from flowing, but that doesn't mean that's what's happening in the real world. Your float could be leaking, or simply not set at the correct level. It could also be hanging up on a corroded or gunked up pin that the float pivots on. Check all these things first. By the way, don't they punctuate and capitalize in Australia?

***

SUBJECT: HUSKY ENGINE SWAPS

Id like to know if my 1974 400 wr engine will go into a 1982 wr 430 frame
Harry
Atlanta, GA

The swap should be a relatively simple one, requiring only hand made motor mount plates and some spacers. Most of the work would be in mounting the pipe and getting the air box hooked up correctly to the carb. Should be an interesting little project.

***

SUBJECT: 1990 RM80 TRANNY BLUES

Hey great website! I Have a 1990 rm 80L and the transmission is a 5 speed and the overall feel of shifting through all the gears is pretty crappy. It feels real loose and its hard to tell if it actually goes into 3rd 4th and 5th gear when imgoing fast could this be because the chain is loose or because it needs new clutch plates? ans also what fuel mixture do you recomend for this bike.
Ron
Pawling, NY

Your bike is almost 20 years old and the trans is probably just worn out. You can tell by taking a few gears out and seeing if the dogs (the ridges on the back side of the gears) are rounded. If so, it's just a matter of replacing them. Use 32:1 on the premix and you'll be happy.

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SUBJECT: CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM

i think u suck and can go *&%&*^%(+%$# a goat

THE GENERAL

LA, CA

Ahh yes, THE GENERAL, from LA, no less. Listen General, next time don't sugar coat it. Tell me what you really think. No go away and grow up.

***

SUBJECT: PROJECT HONDA CRF 230F - PART 15

Hey Rick,

I have a quick question. If I wanted more acceleration out of my 230 after uncorking it, what would I need to do? Please email me back thanks Big D
Derick
Sewickley, PA



If you uncork your bike, be sure that you install the correct power up jets. Refer to the early parts of the project series on this. Then put the larger countershaft sprocket on to make the bike come alive.

***

SUBJECT: ARTICLE TITLE: PROJECT TTR 230 - GETTING THE FORKS DIALED IN

Hi,

I was wondering if a YZ 125 or 250 front finder and number plate would fit my 2008 TTR 230
Billard
Port Aux Basques, CANADA

Yep, in fact the YZ front fender even looks better.

***

SUBJECT: 1980 YAMAHA GT-80 OIL LEAK

I always wondered what happened to Super Hunky! HaHa. I just got my hands on an '80 Yamaha GT-80. It's very clean but leaks oil out the shift side case cover. It only leaks when the engine sustains high rpm, otherwise it won't. It seems to be leaking out the shift shaft though I haven't taken off the case cover to look for sure. if it is leaking from there, can the seal be replaced without splitting the cases? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks
Blingtiki
Newport Beach, CA

Just take the case cover off and replace the seal. It's no big deal and will probably take a half hour total.

***

SUBJECT: MORE FROM THE GENERAL

U think you so *&^^$#@^* smart huh well I got an YZ80 that will beat u up and down so there punck

THE GENERAL

Ahh, once again we hear from THE GENERAL. It's good that they untie the sleeves on your white jacket every few hours so you can email us.

***

SUBJECT: 2002 SUZUKI RMX 250

My brother has just bought an 2002 Rmx 250 and the plug is always black. We figured out the oil/fuel mixture (32:1) but we don't know what the air mixture screw is ( how many turns) Cheers guys
No Name
Myrtleford, AUSTRALIA

The air mixture screw affects the jetting at idle. Period. You're running way too rich on actual jetting. Start by reducing the size of your main jet by two numbers and see what the plug reading is.

***

SUBJECT: SQUARE BARREL MAICO VALUE

Hi

I see your articles quite offten,I OWN A 1970 SQUIRE BARREL 400CC,I BOUGHT IT NEW and have just restored it to factory specs,IT came out very nice; Rick you seem to be very nolagable in the macio world and in my search for a parts the bike seems to be rare,could you tell me its worth.thanks

Stu Osborne
Portland, OR

A nicely restored 400 square barrel 1970 Maico is probably worth around five grand.

***

SUBJECT: THE WRONG BIKE FOR A BEGINNER

I am a beginner and just bought a Yamaha IT465. I have been told this is a horrible beginners bike, but I bought it cheap and I am a pretty cautious person, so I thought "what the heck". Anyway, with all that being said this thing is a monster to get started. I know a 465 will be a little tougher, but I am kicking this thing for 15 minutes while my buddies are out riding their 250's. It is also fouling plugs about every 5 hours of riding. In your infinite knowledge can you give a beginner with a heart to learn some suggestions?
Chris
New Albany, IN


You would have had to look a long time to find a worse beginners bike. The 465 is a brute, with an instant power hit, a powerful front double leading shoe front brake and spooky handling. In the right hands, it's a great bike. In your hands, it's a ticket to the casting ward at your local hospital. Best advice? Sell the bike and buy a nice used KDX200.

***

SUBJECT: ARTICLE TITLE: TEN WORST DIRT BIKES OF ALL TIME

After a great year with a YZ465 which with an extra head gasket (to improve traction) and a cut and rewelded steering head to get it turning I bought a YZ490 in 1982. Sank all I had to buy new. What a camel. AS above - plus weighed a ton, carried its weight high up, had a low end that broke traction the moment you touched the throttle, dodgy gear spacing and unpredictable handling that would lob you in a bush just as soon as you started to open the throttle without first thinking it through. Lost me a year just as I was getting towards my peak, and in the running for our local championship. Two years later I was out of racing with a badly damaged back.
Ian
IRELAND

You have managed to add to the legend of one of the worst bikes ever made, the YZ490. I'm going to forward your email to my friend, Matt Cuddy, who for some reason likes those piles of crap. My condolences.

***

 

SUBJECT: ARTICLE TITLE: VINTAGE BIKE GUIDE: OLD IRON FACTS

I was one of very few who owned a Cooper 250 from Islo / MX. The bike had straight cut gears and would do zero to 60 very quickly and you could never stop it from attempting to climb a tree. It had lots of torgue. I was not very reliable. I kicked started it one day and the spring for the kick start popped and blew a hole in the case. I was a teen then and had little money so I wadded up some steel wool and putty and jammed it into the case until the oil stopped leaking. Then jump stated it from there on. Fun little bike but my love was really into the Japanese bikes soon after. DT-1, DT-2, TM-400, IT-250, IT-490 just to name a few. I am shocked the Yamaha IT series did not get a mention. These machines were awesome! My IT-250 was fun but my IT-490 was heaven!
Bruce Kendall
Denison, TX


It's a shame that the Cooper never realized its full potential. I know some riders who had no problem whatsoever with their bikes, while others had the kind of grief you described. The problems could be traced back to sloppy assembly at the Moto Islo plant. I agree with you about the IT-490. It had a ton of grunt and was reliable.

 

***

SUBJECT: PLUG READINGS WITH UNLEADED FUEL

Hi Super hunky,

Firstly I must say I've been reading your columns and advice for over 30 years, your the man. 1 question with the spark plug readings? I've beeen doing that for 30 years as well, but the plugs are now always black due to the unleadeed fuel. Is there a better way to check plugs with todays "crap" fuel?.Keep up the good work. When You coming Down Under?(and No I cant fund your trip.) Luv ya

Bj of Bj' BEARRS Spares PTY/LTD
AUSTRALIA

Actually, you can get a decent plug reading using unleaded fuel. Just use a new plug each time you want a reading. I enjoyed my trip to OZ and hope to come again.

***

SUBJECT: ARTICLE TITLE: YAMAHA DT 175 - VINTAGE DIRT BIKE

I ALSO WAS 16 AND HAD A DT175 I HAD IT BORED OUT PUT NEW SPROCKETS FRONT AND REAR WOOOHOO...!! IT DID 85 MPH AND ONE THURSDAY MORNING IN 1980 ON A HOT AUGUST DAY I WENT FULL THROTTLE INTO THE BACK OF A BARRIER ON THE POWER LINES I WAS ONLY 16 AND NEVER WENT SLOW I HAVE HAD 6 STREET BIKES AFTER THAT BUT I DO HAVE physical DAMAGE 29 YEARS AFTER.
Robert Zappola
Daytona Beach, FL

It also appears that you have some brain damagefrom that pile driver trip into the barrier. And quit typing in CAPS.

***

SUBJECT: XR650 HONDA EXHAUST

What is the best preforming exhaust for my 2007 xr650r honda compared to mods made to stock exhaust system I'm running now. Is it worth the money or am I pissing the wind?
Johnny
AL


Keep the stock head pipe and bolt on most any aftermarket muffler. That works about the same as a complete (and expensive) system.

***

SUBJECT: A TM-400 FAN? GASP!

Rick:
Hope your feeling well my friend. Better sit down! Next statement is crazy!

BUT
I have always liked the Suzuki TM400 -- Yikes!!!!!

Seroiusly now! Racing, riding or just sitting on one is a thrill...I plan to build a street legal TM 400 dual sport bike. Let me paint the picture. I have always felt the TM 400 engine has huge potiental it is the things wrapped around it that scares me! A nice new rolling RM frame would be nice though a bit expensive and not my style, so maybe an 78 or 79 RM 400 frame roller would fit the era better! Maybe a newer one?

Rich Thorwaldson's 1972 Suzuki TM 400 Factory Desert Bike is the nuts! I love the article and read it often.I value all the info on him I can find as I look to him as a true hero! Building an eastern version would be nice since we don't have open desert to ride it will have to be barely street legal! In this day of all the high tech gizzmos that they use to make a 4 strokes run it would be a pleasure pulling up to a Pennsylvania MX at Sleepy Hollow or a Back Mountain Enduro Riders HS with a street legal smoker and enter! Getting dusted will be fun, but it will be the predator and not the prey that I ride so I'm sure there are a few unsuspectiong lambs right for ROOSTing... LOL! There will be the onlookers who remember the mighty TM 400. Old Suzuki riders memories run deep here in PA. It would be a fitting tribute to Rich Thorwaldson also.

So, from one old schooler to another I hope I stirred your mind a bit as you too are my hero and sharing this with you is always an honor! Any thoghts, support, old/new articles, as your opionins are always valued?

Lee Curry
THEE Suzuki TM 400 Predator... LOL

Probably the single best thing you can do to the TM400 is put on the ignition from the TS400. It smoothes out the power and eliminates that weird hit of power right around 4000 rpm. Put Works shocks on the rear, beef up the swingarm and go riding.

***

SUBJECT: ARTICLE TITLE: PROJECT YAMAHA TTR230 - PART 2 - DIRT BIKE CHAINS AND SPROCKETS

what all do i need for the Sprocket mod i have the 14 just dont know what to put on the back and what chain size to put so if you can help thanks
Joshv91
Poulsbo, WA


Use a 520 chain and the stock rear sprocket will work OK. We used a 15 tooth countershaft sprocket on our bike and it pulled it just fine.

***

SUBJECT: MAVERICK MINIBIKE INFO

We have a minibike that is labeled Maverick but we can't seem to find any information on how old it is, what it's worth, etc. Does anyone know anything about these?
Vicki
Hudsonville, MI



How's this for information, Vicki? Photos and specs. These were incredibly popular in the 60s and early 70s.

***

SUBJECT: 2003 HONDA CR250 PIPE PROTECTION

Hey Rick,

I just picked up a mint 2003 Honda CR 250. I wanted something with CRF 450 handling, but 2-stroke reliability and I think I found it. My questions are as follows: 1.) It currently has a non-plated ProCircuit works pipe on it. Does anybody make a heat resistant clear coat paint I could use to paint the pipe? I want to preserve that "factory" look but keep it from rusting as well. 2.) How can I polish the aluminum frame to a mirror finish? Ive seen a few CRs that had the mirror polish done, but I can't find any instructions on how to do it. I appreciate if you could shed any insight on my questions. I can't wait until it gets warm so I can actually ride this bike! Thanks.
MG
Huron, MI

There's no clear paint that I know of that won't burn and blister on the head pipe. Your best bet is to spray it with a light oil like WD40 and wipe the pipe down. You'll have to do this after every ride.

***

SUBJECT: DT-1 IGNITION QUIRKS

Hi Rick.

I don't know if you answer tech questions, but here goes. I have removed the oil pump on above bike.What fuel / oil ratio would you recommend? Also was out recently and bike started running ape shit. Finially tracked it down to a bad condenser. Do you know what would cause this? Just replaced it recently with new source coil, new points, and so on. Love your site.

See You.

Dennis

32.1 Yamalube R. Premium 91 octane gas. Bad condenser from age most likely.

***

SUBJECT: PISTON FOR A MX 175

I have a 1974 Yamaha MX 175 and am having problems locating the exact piston for it. Are there any that I can substitute for it. I know the DT is identical.I was also wondering if CT if anyare interchangable or any others. Any help would be greatly apreciated.

Thanks

Justin Kegler

Try Speed & Sport in Bloomberg, PA. Talk to Cindy at 866-455-6831. They have it all.

***

SUBJECT: I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT QUADS

Hi, I just bought a 2004 Honda TRX90 for my son. It is very clean and shows no signs of abuse. He's been riding it for about a week and it just developed a strange ticking noise that is coming from the rear brake drum. I put it up on a jack stand and the noise is apparent when I turn the rear wheels by hand. Ant ideas as to what could be causing this?
Steve
Livermore, CA

At the risk of irritating you, I have utterly no interest or expertise in quads, especially mini units. I would, however, take the rear wheels off and check for a broken spring that holds the brake shoes together.

[Editor's Note - we've also passed this question along to our ATV AnswerMan. He does have more interest and expertise in this subject...]

***

SUBJECT: 1976 SUZUKI TS100

I have a 1976 Suzuki ts 100, which I am finding it near impossible to find parts for it. Is there a more current engine that I
can drop into this bike? Thanks
Dan
Boardman, OR

You're in luck. Contact Keith Lynas at Ossa Planet in San Diego. He has a TS 100 sitting around for sale. Email: [email protected]

***

SUBJECT: SMOKING HONDA CRF230

Hi, i just started reading your articles and i love them! When i got my 2006 crf 230 i took the baffle out and when it started smoking I got worried so I rejetted it and put a amr rev box on it. So i was wondering is there anything I can do to it that will make it stop smoking for good? If so would it be to hard for me to do myself? Thanks
Nolan
Coweta, OK

If you took the baffle out without rejetting, chances are you smoked the motor. And to make the situation even worse, you put a rev box on it. Lots of luck.

***

SUBJECT: A NEW SUZUKI 250 2-STROKE?

Dear Rick

I understand it possible to order a 2009 rm250 2 stroke. If you have a contact would you please respond. Thank you
Dempsey Oklahoma usa.

Sorry, but Suzuki quit making the 250 2-stroke for 2009.

***

SHAMELESS PLUG

I've got books, posters and all kinds of CDs. This makes the ideal gift for someone who enjoys living in the past. Website:

www.superhunky.com

Here's the source:
Rick Sieman
36607 W. Costa Blanca Dr.
Maricopa, AZ
85238

Email: su[email protected]

Paypal, Check or Money Order OK - No plastic


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