Yamaha XT600E 1994 3TB
I've always wanted a bigger adventure / enduro style bike. A friend had an xt660z a few years ago that actually got stolen but i loved the idea of it. The money was a big thing though. His was worth about 12 times what i paid for mine! Recently he's bought an XT600R and has been kitting it out again for big trips. I was jealous to say the least but short on funds as they were all tied up in my Rd350LC project, 4DL series 1 project and other DT parts that were filling my garage.
So I was on ebay and found this xt600e 1994 model and it was cheap. It had no MOT but was in a 'runs and rides' state.
I negotiated a price with the seller and went and bought it. The rear tyre wasnt sitting right and there was a small dent in the rim but it didnt seem relevant to the tyre. There was some place in the suspension linkage ( my pet hate). It had been resprayed all over in blue which I wasnt keen on but it probably looked better than it did before!
After i got it home and had a check over in the garage I thought I'd book it in for an mot and see whats what. I stuck a jerry can of petrol in that had been sitting in my garage and away i went. It was running like a dog. lump, back firing and even cutting out! What? Oh well, get it through the mot and then see, i thought, its probably just old fuel from that can.
It failed on the rear tyre not seating properly and the suspension linkage, surprisingly ....which was a relief really. I knew I wasnt going to be able to do it within the 10 days but I also was annoyed at the mot place as I know them and they said they would just blow the tyre back on the rim and they didnt even try...
So I ordered a set of Continental Escapes as recommended by my friend with the 660.
I found a 2nd hand linkage on ebay that "had no play". When it turned up it came still attached to the swing arm and shock! Great!!!
...Oh... it does have play in. I tried a straight swap with my parts and the play was about the same. I swapped around various bits to make one good linkage out of the two. It got rid of a lot of the play but still not what i felt would be good enough for an mot.
I ordered some brand new parts from Fowlers which again made a difference but were only the solid bushes and not the nylon collars that sit inside the relay arm as the cost for all of those was really adding up and i wasn't 100% sure which one/s was/were the issue. I moved on for the time being whilst deciding what to do.
Along with the linkage/arm and from the same guy I got a new airbox as mine was missing the top section and snorkel. He wouldnt sell it seperatly and it was about £30 so fine...
...when i went to fit it I realised that what had been stuff in place of the snorkel was a DNA air filter! with a stock one in place. So I cleaned up the DNA but noticed it's missing its sealing edge. I still need to sort that but a nice find!
Next I started looking at the carbs. Took em off and the bowl was full of bits! Thats probably why it was running lumpy and kept cutting out on the way to the MOT!
I cleaned it all up and thought I'd check the float needle condition and make sure the floats weren't holding fuel. Thats where it went bad! the part of the carb body where the float pivot pin goes into was broken! Damnit!
At this point I was getting excited and looking at all sorts of modifications I could do to improve it and heard about the oversized Acerbis petrol tanks made from plastic. They were about £260 but for my model bike they are no longer available. DAMNIT!
Then by chance I saw an XT600 listed up on ebay about £750 as an import from Norway with no paper. Kicks over fine but doesn't start and is missing some parts. But wait...the tank on it is one of these elusive Acerbis 90-94 20L plastic Tanks!
I messaged the buyer to try and buy the tank and a few other parts but it wasn't happening! He wanted it gone as complete bike. I negotiated it down to £450 and arranged a courier for £105. So all up it owes me £550. I'll take the parts I want/need and break the rest of it.
This also gave me another chance to play with the suspension linkage and carbs. So i swapped and changed and got even better on the linkage side of things. I swapped the shock and clevis across and I now feel comfortable with that. I think there is a minute amount still there and may well rebuild a new lnkage relay arm over this year incase the play gets worse again.
Whilst I was trying to sort the Sus linkage I noticed that the chain was dead, like you could almost lift it off the back of the rear sprocket! Apparently this wasn't a problem on the mot. For various reasons I won't be going back to that mot tester (other issues) but this was pretty bad too!
Ordered a new DID chain and either JT or sunstar sprocket kit from Wemoto along with some other bits like oil filter, carb repair kit, magnetic sump plug. I had to buy a Chain tool and went for a draper. Got the hang of it after some youtube videos and it seems to have done the job. Not sure if the riveter pin has faired too well but ill find out next time. It's a lot of pressure needed to flare the rivets which I've never done before. Always dealt with the clip link type.
On the carb front by now I had bought a Ultrasonic Cleaner. Its a 6 litre model and is a lot smaller than i expected. You only get like 4-4.5 litre in it as there is a max fill line but it does what I need now so im happy. (£85 on ebay IIRC).
So i took the carbs off the donor bike and put them in the US cleaner. After a good clean up they ended up being more viable as they were, rather than trying to combine the 2 sets. That was suprising considering they were spray painted black...yes...the carbs were spray painted black!
Back on the bike and it wont even start now!
After killing the battery a number of times and having to wait for it to charge (it was very cold) I eventually found that the HT lead wasn't clipping on well enough on top of the spark plug...sounds silly now i type it but it was a right hassle at the time. By the time i found that, id killed the battery again. After a charge on the optimate over night i went out, battery on, choke on, press the button and pop pop pop, first press!
I warmed it up and the tried to adjust the pilot screw but even with it screwed all the way in it wasn't making much difference. So I'm sure I need to mess about with it a bit more soon but its running nicely which is good!
This was all done with the plastic tank just sitting loosely on the bike. When i finally tried to fit it securely I found that there is supposed to be a mounting kit with the tank that...you guessed it...I dont appear to have.
After contacting the guy who is regarded as the UK expert on XT's (and believe me he is!) I found out what they look like but also that they don't make them anymore. He says they do come up on ebay occasionally but also mentioned that he doesn't have enough to go with the tanks he has, so competition will be stiff when they do come up.
So I've got a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who owns a favour, who might be able to make me something up that'll work. I managed to get technical drawings of them online from Germany so i guess people are making them up themselves.
So with that tank out of action until I get the mounting kit I thought, no problem, ill put the original metal one back on. I thought i better check the fuel coming out of it and it turns out its full of rust!
Quick google and everything points towards sealing the tank or replacing. Fuel filters wont block much and cleaning them wont be a long term solution. I decided to give it a go. I bought about 3-4 litres of distilled vinegar and after a long soak and shaking with the old chain inside, theres lots of loose stuff coming out and the colour is...well...i think i invented a new colour.
I then rinsed it with half the contents of my water butt and them some petrol. The output gradually got cleaner and cleaner and there appeared to be none of the red globules of rust that was the initial concern. Once i was happy (enough) with the cleanliness of what was coming out I put it back on the bike, fitted an in line fuel filter and connected it back up. It seems to be running well so hopefully that will get me through the mot and until I can secure the Acerbis tank properly.
I still need to bleed the brakes, maybe refresh the fluid, but other than that it's pretty much ready for an MOT.
So that's the back story...and here's where I'm at now:
I've got some larger footpegs on their way. Cheap at £16 but steel. They'll mean I can lift it on the Eazy Rizer better, by using the footpeg mounts to lift it. Yeah that sounds weird? Check out Eazy Rizer bike lifts!
I'm planning to swap all the black plastics across from the donor bike.
I'm also planning on fitting the kickstart from the donor. It's an XT600K (K for kick start) and mine is an XT600E ( E for electric start) and you can fit the kicker across similar to the old DT125RE mod. A decompression lever is needed which is attached to the kick start and operates at the same time.
I didn't yet mention but the bike came with a spare engine which turns out to be the original one for the bike and matches the frame. So i expect ill rebuild that over time and re fit it in it's rightful place.
I have plenty of other plans for it including:
- -remodelling the seat and making it more comfy
-replacing the imitation renthals with real ones
-fitting some nice hand guards
-fitting a better sump guard
-finding a rack. (ive bought one from ebay that says its for a 94 but im not convinced. awaiting delivery.
-Getting some soft luggage for the sides.
-installing some better LED spot lights
-upgrading the gear lever and brake lever
-rebuilding caliper ( rear appears to be the same as a DT125R as are a few other parts)
- -remodelling the seat and making it more comfy
Sounds like a fun project! My uncle had an old XT660 from the late 80s I think, classic white and red yamaha with the gold rims. No electric start, kicking it was a pain in the arse. I never tried it but watching my Uncle and Cousin literally jumping on it to try and get it going was good fun. In the end it was left outside for over a decade, went off to the scrap yard just 2 years ago, nothing could be done it was all rotten to bits. My uncle used to tell me it was a fun bike for the road, but too heavy for the trails. Do you share that opinion with the XT660E?
Yeah I know the one, have seen quite a few on ebay when im searching for parts etc. They seem quite desirable and theres quite a following for them. Thats a shame as it probably would have been good some parts.
I can imagine kicking them wont be fun, although I'm not sure if that model had a decompression attachment which would have made it alot harder. I'm fitting the kickstart as a back up more than anything.
With regards to the offroad stuff I wouldnt know as I've only ridden it around the block so far. They are considered enduros by a lot of people but I certainly wouldnt be using it for any kind of technical trails etc. Merely as an option to ride on surfaces other than smooth tarmac if i go travelling abroad on it.
They certainly are quite heavy bikes at 156kg dry. I mean compared to the DT which is about 120 dry but from the small amount of riding I've done it felt quite manouvreable and I'm sure I could improve that fair amount with progressive springs front and back and some weight reductions like the tank and silencer.
The Xt600 is very good dualsport, which can be ridden in gnarlier stuff than you would imagine.
I have ridden 120.000km on mine, all over Europe. Ive had a lap around the Nürburgring, and at both MX tracks and endurotracks and just about everything in between.
@Jens-Eskildsen Wow! Thanks for the reply. Sounds like you have a sturdy bike there. Where abouts are you and what model do you have?
If you have any advice or anything thats worth knowing then I'd be very appreciative to hear it. I'm still learning alot about the bike but have seen alot online about how durable they are, especially the engine.
I was following a thread on another forum of someone who had some similar kind of km on their bike and hadnt done any engine work at all!
@Darty You should do it! My mate is currently trying to buy a ex round the world bike which i think is a drz400. A couple of guys rode their bikes all around the world and now its sitting about and somehow my friends found out and wants to buy it.
We we're over the other side of the new forest the other week picking up a ninja for him to break and there was the bottom end of a DRZ650 sitting on the side in the workshop. It looked crazy big! They also had maruez' moto3 race bike sitting there too but our attempt to purchase it was unsuccesful!
My bike is a 2003 model, Im located in Denmark. Its at 170.000km total, I bought it with 50k on the clock. At around 125k i treated it with a new piston and a fresh camchain. Otherwise just normal parts like brakes, chain and sprockets and so on.
Here it is as a Sumo:
And offroad ( older pic):
This model has no flaws, or any specific thing to be aware of. But as a genral rule, many skip out on regreasing all the bearings in the swingarm and linkage.
Oh hell yeah now thats a nice looking bike IMO.
I much prefer it with the off road wheels. I see you have an acerbis tank for it then and you're lucky enough to have the later one (4TP is it?) so you can still get the tank and mounts.
Thats great to know that theres nothing major to worry about and yeah, I'll be religiously servicing/ greasing those suspension linkage and swing arm bearings! Thanks for the heads up. I think any bike that uses a similar set up should be sold with a grease gun as part of the tool kit!