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Yamaha Tech Originally the Yamaha XT600 Tech Forum, due to demand it now includes all Yamaha's technical / mechanical / repair / preparation questions.
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  #1  
Old 11 Dec 2007
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Hi, I'm new here and I just got my first dirt bike, an '89 XT600W

Hi Everybody,

I just wanted to introduce myself here. I'm approaching 30 years old, I live in South Dakota, and I've been riding an older Yamaha XJ550 cruiser for a couple years. I've never ridden a dirt bike before, so I'm really excited about getting this one.

I found this forum after I bought a used 1989 XT600 with about 10,000 miles on it on ebay last weekend, and I was looking for information about them. I have to say, I really appreciate all the knowledge here, it's a great resource. I was able to download manuals and other documentation, and found links to a lot of great websites that will definitely come in handy while I'm working on this bike over the winter.

I've got a couple things to work on to get this bike ready for spring. I need to replace the rear turn signals, the speedometer gear, choke cable, fork seals, and a few rear spokes, otherwise I just need to clean it up and get it ready for the road. It starts cold on the second kick, so I'm expecting it to be an easy winter project. I'm glad there aren't too many serious problems with it, since I'm not exactly an expert at fixing these things, but the service manual I found here will really help with anything that comes up. It's a little beat up, and has a few dings and a little rust on it, but it's in good shape overall.

I made my first mistake yesterday though. It's kick-start only, and after running it a few times throughout the day, it suddenly wouldn't start anymore. I must have kicked a hundred times before I gave up. There was a bit of fuel sloshing around inside the tank, so I figured it wasn't that. Went back to it today and pulled the tank off, intending to see if anything was strange about the carb and clean underneath it. Before I put it back on a while later, I noticed how divided the tank is where it fits over the frame, so I tipped it so that all the fuel was on the left side. Put the tank back on, ran some fuel into carb, and it sputtered on the second kick and started on the third. I felt like an idiot, but at least I won't make that mistake again.

A couple questions: There's a bit of rust on the inside of the tank. Nothing too bad, just flecks of rust. Is there an easy way to fix that? Also, it idles fine, shifts fine, and starts from a stop like it should. I can push by hand if it's in neutral, but sometimes I can't move it when it's in gear even with the clutch lever pulled. What could be causing this? Do I need to adjust the clutch, or is it a more serious problem with the clutch? Or is it something else entirely? Like I said, it idles OK, even when in gear with the clutch lever pulled, so I'm not sure what it is. I did notice once when I was moving through gears at an idle that it lurched forward. Is this an indication of a bad clutch, or something else clutch-related?

I've got about 5 months before I can really ride it, but can any of you offer me some advice about riding this bike, or things to look out for while I'm fixing it up? Any good sources for parts and accessories (in the US). I know it's not the most serious dirt bike, but I'm not intending to ride it too hard. I'll be riding it around town most of the time, occasionally on the highway, and out in the woods or hills every once in a while. I'm looking forward to going places I couldn't go with my other bike, and apparently this XT will actually be better on the highway than my XJ is.

Anyway, thanks again for all the information here, I'm sure I'll be spending a lot of time on this forum. I included a couple of low-res photos from ebay, just so you can see what I've got, if you're interested.
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  #2  
Old 11 Dec 2007
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Join Date: May 2007
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Welcome


Xt600 was my first dirt bike too. I'm in the same category as you just a couple of months ahead.

1> Learn the correct way to check oil, and dont get it wrong.
2> Keep an eye on tightening the oil filter cover, almost every one has been overtightened leading to stripped threads.

My experience is that the front tyre doesnt get much wear... it spends much less time in contact with the ground than the rear!
Yours look like road biast tyres, if you are going to spend some time messing around offroad then get more dirt biased tyres.

This is a considerably bigger bike than most of the dirt bikes it wants to play with and tends to throw its weight a round. With the wrong tyres (unskilled rider always blames his equipment) you may discover the joys of falling off, frequently

I cant recomend strongly enough that you invest in a pair of MX boots and general body protection. In my case a suit if armour would be appropriate.

Oh and checkout: Enduro Helmet reviews Cos you have to have the right helmet. I am looking to get one of these in plain white.

Good luck and ride it like you stole it!

G
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Old 11 Dec 2007
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Hello & Welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Adams View Post
it suddenly wouldn't start anymore. I must have kicked a hundred times before I gave up.
Brave Man! you're gonna end up with a Thigh like a Farm Chicken!
to the HUBB & she looks in good shape. dont worry too much about the tyres unless its wet or muddy, I have road bias on mine and they have proved great over rocks, gravel tracks, dirt roads, tarmac, forest........just not too good ( meaning ride carefully, easy with that throttle!) on wet paved roads and wet mud.

Martyn
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  #4  
Old 11 Dec 2007
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Your bike looks quite nice, are they Gold Wheels on it ?
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  #5  
Old 11 Dec 2007
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"There's a bit of rust on the inside of the tank. Nothing too bad, just flecks of rust. Is there an easy way to fix that?"

Here's what I did - drain the tank; remove the petcock; put some duct tape over the tank bottom where the petcock used to be; put some strong liquid cleaner (TSP, "Metal Ready", "Simple Green", etc.) with about a foot or so heavy chain (medium-length links are good); put duct tape over fuel cap area; shake back and forth for several minutes to agitate any crud/rust; dump out cleaner; fish out chain; rinse out tank; dry thoroughly; apply new tape to tank bottom; pour in about a pint or two of some mild phosphoric acid (look in the paint or pool department); slowly slosh it around the tank (it will turn the surface rust black) until no more rust appears; pour out acid (it can be re-used); rinse thoroughly; dry thoroughly; re-install petcock; re-install tank; fill with gas (and keep it filled - that's why it got rust to begin with), install in-line fuel filter and go.
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  #6  
Old 11 Dec 2007
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Thanks for the tips guys. It sounds like a pretty easy process to get my tank cleaned out. I've started looking at other things on the bike, and it seems like if I want to do much to the engine that it would be easiest to just take it out of the frame. It's tough to move around in between the frame and the motor.

And yes, the wheels are a gold color.

I had it running good the other day, and now it doesn't want to start again. I've got no idea what it might be, it just doesn't seem to want to go. I'm going to check the likely culprits, but I'm guessing that I can probably get it figured out by May.

Thanks again!
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  #7  
Old 11 Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Adams View Post
I had it running good the other day, and now it doesn't want to start again. I've got no idea what it might be, it just doesn't seem to want to go. I'm going to check the likely culprits, but I'm guessing that I can probably get it figured out by May.

Thanks again!
Don't you just hate that happening! - try to check what has changed recently (stirred up dirt in the fuel with shaking the tank around is a longshot possibility?) to cause this.
And, make sure everything is clean and in correct adjustment i.e. serviced properly.
There are loads of threads in here about the XT and running/starting problems, so as you find out more about your new bike, do a search here for anything that takes your fancy.
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  #8  
Old 20 Jan 2008
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intermittent starting

i have an 89 xt600 also and i had similar starting problems as you did. i found the problem to be the switch on the sidestand that kills the motor if the kickstand is down. on days that it won't start, try kickstarting with the sidestand up and if it starts, its that switch. have a friend hold the bike while you kick it over, just in case. i just disconnected it and pulled the wiring from under the seat. never had that problem again.
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