1992 CR500R restoration

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4/2/2018 6:12 PM

I had been considering a big bore two stroke for a couple years and finally pulled the trigger on one a couple weeks ago. The thread was posted over here:

https://www.vitalmx.com/forums/Old-School-Moto,22/1992-CR500R-price-question,1324219

However, I'm going to use this thread to document the restoration. I'm not following a real strict budget on this, but I am trying to keep it all under $3000. And naturally I want it to look really good and be comfortable for me (tall seat, bars up, peg mods, etc...). I'm also trying to redeem myself from having dragged out my 2002 YZ250F restoration for WAY WAY too long. I want to have this CR500R done asap, so that I can actually enjoy it this year.

Here it is as I bought it. I thought it was nicer that it really was (isn't that how it always goes?)


And after sitting for a year, it came to life with some old stale gas. It actually ran pretty decent:



After last night, this is how it looks:


A close look at the wire harness showed some unique additions - the green and yellow wires that run to a battery-tender type plug end. I guess this could be used to charge a phone or something? I'll remove it.


Engine looks good, just need to do a lot of scrubbing. No case damage found yet, fingers crossed! The ignition rotor sure looks beefy though, like its been modded with weight.


The only real surprises at this point was the lack of coolant. There as only maybe 1/4 coolant in the bike. I suspected a blown head gasket, but it looks as if the left side cylinder head hose was leaking (at the head). Which would also explain why the engine was so wet and dirty.

I also found that someone welded in a skid plate on bottom of the frame. It did not appear to be a "fix" for damage, but rather just someone's prior fab work. My first instinct was to remove it, but I decided that I'll keep it. It actually looks to be really well done, the welds were ground down on the exterior for a nice flush look, and a nice pocket was cut in the bottom for oil change access. It should look good after powdercoat and I was going to buy a skid plate anyway, so I can't really understand why I would waste my time removing it.

I'll post updates as they occur.


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4/3/2018 10:59 PM

Nice to see a steel frame 500 put back together.
Interesting cylinder nuts..

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4/4/2018 8:42 AM

I thought I read somewhere that a racer, back in the day, had some really really tall (trick?) cylinder base nuts? I think they look goofy so I'll replace them, but I think it may have been a cool thing at some point?

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5/24/2018 1:21 PM

All I've got for an update is the frame and shock spring got dropped off at the powdercoater. And I ended up chopping off the welded-in steel skid plate and fabbing up something with a removable aluminum plate. Once the frame gets back, I'll be more motivated to install stuff to it!

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5/30/2018 7:28 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/30/2018 7:31 PM

Got the frame and shock spring back! Its looking much nicer now.


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5/30/2018 10:32 PM

Nice progress. Keep it up!

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Work In Progress: ATV Modification - Installation of MSA Motohammer Radial ATV tires.

6/9/2018 8:29 PM

Got the shock rebuilt today. I did it on the cheap and oddly enough the cheapest place for a bumper and bladder was OEM. Each one was $9. Also got a Racetech seal and dust cover for $9, so I rebuilt the seal head rather than buy a new one. Add in $10 for fluid, $25 for powdercoat on the shock spring, and I've got a nitrogen tank so the 160 psi charge was just a few bucks. Grand total is around $65 I would guess. Sure feels good to have the right spring color and a minty shock bumper again.









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6/11/2018 1:45 PM

Started to move forward on the forks. They looked blown, felt mushy, and the right fork leg compression clicker spun around in circles doing nothing. I started on the left leg so I could have a good look at a properly working fork cap. Nothing out of the ordinary except the fork springs looked to be the wrong ones. They were Eibach 997.025.0 and they were about 16mm too short because they had 4 X 4mm preload washers on top. The stock 92 CR500R calls for a .38 kg spring and so I bought a set of NOS Racetech .44kg springs off Ebay which are better for my weight. I'm still trying to figure out what rate these Eibachs were?






Got the left leg buttoned up with fresh Honda OEM sliders, seals, dust wipers, 5w Maxima oil filled on the high side, new springs preloaded at 4mm. I started on the right leg and immediately figured out what broke in the fork cap.



The clicker has a slot on the other end (inside the cap) that engages a tab on the needle. The slot broke away from the clicker. Deep down inside the center hole on this picture you can see some brass. The game plan is to drill into that, tap it for a 3mm bolt, then modify a bolt with a slot at the end. I'll thread that into the brass with loctite and hopefully have something to adjust the needle.

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6/11/2018 2:23 PM

Finally figured out the Eibach 997.025.0 fork springs! The Eibach catalog shows "997 series" fork springs offered were for 91-94 KDX250's, which use a 43mm KYB fork. On a KDX site someone mentioned:

"When Eibach was still making their 997 model of fork springs, it was 500mm in length. It was marketed for the 1991 - 1994 KDX250."

Also, the catalog only listed one spring rate, 35kg and progressive.

IT would appear someone took out the .38 kg, 512mm long stock springs for a set of .35, progressive rate 500mm length springs with 16mm worth of washers, which basically gave it 4mm preload.

I'm installing a set of Racetech 3951 springs which are .44 kg, 512mm long with a single 4 mm preload washer on top. Long story short, I feel much better about the upgrade.

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6/12/2018 8:11 AM

Made some progress on the broken clicker. I discovered that the insert that contained the broken clicker was steel. All it took was threading a bolt and washer in place and giving it a few turns to pull the insert out of the fork cap. The broken clicker came out of the insert, along with an o-ring, spring and ball detent.

I found a water valve at the hardware store for $6.50 which had enough brass to whittle down in the lathe. My neighbor chucked it up in the lathe and we started to replicate the old piece. We made it about 85% of the way before it broke Oh well, there is enough material to give it another go. At least I can breathe easy knowing that I'll be able to fix this part!

I also found out that the tab, which broke from the old clicker, is nearly identical to a schrader valve tool. So we'll use that for a model for the new one.






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6/12/2018 1:10 PM

Impressive effort. It’s seeing threads like this that gives confidence to other members who are doing full restores.
Can never have too many images.

Thank you for taking the time to detail yours.

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6/13/2018 8:40 AM

Thanks!

I'm leaving this link here, which shows part interchanges between CR500R years.

http://www.oem-cycle.com/HONDACR500BIKEID.shtml

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6/13/2018 6:30 PM

Awesome work!!

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6/14/2018 4:30 AM

nice one..

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6/14/2018 8:51 AM

Way to go on that fork cap fix.

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KTM250SX YZ125 YZ85 PW80 ZX6 FZX700

6/14/2018 10:42 PM

YZed250 wrote:

Way to go on that fork cap fix.

I was going to say "but I didnt fix it yet." However, tonight I fixed it. Its not the most beautiful replica but I'm very happy with how it looks. Plus it works!






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6/15/2018 2:55 AM

Impressive.

Will it look OEM or are you putting a full graphics kit on it?

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6/15/2018 6:30 AM

Thanks. It will look oem aside from a shiny pipe and some ktm pegs and taller bars.

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6/15/2018 10:11 AM

Micahdogg wrote:

Finally figured out the Eibach 997.025.0 fork springs! The Eibach catalog shows "997 series" fork springs offered were for 91-94 KDX250's, which use a 43mm KYB fork. On a KDX site someone mentioned:

"When Eibach was still making their 997 model of fork springs, it was 500mm in length. It was marketed for the 1991 - 1994 KDX250."

Also, the catalog only listed one spring rate, 35kg and progressive.

IT would appear someone took out the .38 kg, 512mm long stock springs for a set of .35, progressive rate 500mm length springs with 16mm worth of washers, which basically gave it 4mm preload.

I'm installing a set of Racetech 3951 springs which are .44 kg, 512mm long with a single 4 mm preload washer on top. Long story short, I feel much better about the upgrade.

I am the guy that posted about the 997 springs. I am pretty sure they were straight rate and not progressively wound. I still have a set, but don't have access to them right now. The distance inside a KDX250 fork is 490 mm, so those springs gave 10 mm of preload. They used to make various rates. I think mine are 0.46.

Is it possible you have some springs that may have sacked out a little? 1991 - 1992 KX125 / KX250 fork springs were 512 mm.

AWESOME JOB on the fuel cap work.

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6/15/2018 12:11 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/15/2018 12:12 PM

Small world! So there were another set of numbers 24/93 or something like that. I'll have to check again, but does that indicate spring rate? The Eibach catalog only listed that year range KDX for series number 997, so I'm not sure about 91-92 KX's.

Thanks, it felt really good to get that fixed. Hopefully this weekend I can get a rolling chassis together.

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6/15/2018 4:17 PM

.38's fork springs on a 500? What was honda thinking? Great thread!

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6/17/2018 6:59 AM

I cleaned up the clamps and bearings, installed em in the frame and mounted the forks. Also got some new MSR poly bushings for the Scott risers. And I'll be using some Rox risers on top of those to get the bars up and more forward for me.

I'll have to pull the upper steering bearing back out and replace it though. It looked like hell, but worked perfectly fine. Then I cleaned it and it now looks good and works like hell



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6/17/2018 5:39 PM

How bloody Tall are you?

That's a hell of a 'lift' you've got going there, and, I assume you've fairly tall bars to come.

It's really good to see a Steel frame being rebuilt.

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6/17/2018 6:54 PM

Im 6'9" so bars can never be too tall. These bars are about 3.75 inches and I would usually get a set of pastrana fmx bars (4.75) but decided to make up my rise with the rox adapters. I needed these adapters on a 93 rm125 of mine so if they dont work out I'll repurpose them.

You can see in the riding vid up top that my hands are in my lap. Leg room is tolerable though.

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6/17/2018 11:16 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/17/2018 11:26 PM

Not much of a pic, but the front wheel is much cleaner and I was able to pull that scabby tire off and get a new Bridgestone mounted up with a new tube. All I have to do is put in new bearings and I can mount it in the forks.

I already did the rear wheel a couple weeks ago with fresh bearings, tire and stock style rear sprocket. Now I'm just waiting on the swingarm to be cleaned and get new pivot bearings installed.

Oh and World Record tire change for me tonight too! It was one of those rare nights where 20 minutes later I've got a tire on and it didn't fight me at all. Didn't even make a blood donation.


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6/19/2018 9:45 PM

I yanked out the old front wheel bearings and installed an All Balls kit. I've gotten in a habit of peeling back the seal and packing them full with grease before the install



Installed the wheel with no drama, but the front fender took a bit of work. It came with two "suggested patterns" in the plastic for where to drill. The patterns were about 1/2 inch apart from each other. I have it in the forward position and had to dink around with it forever to get the thing sitting where I wanted it



Then I mocked up the front number plate to see how much modifying it would take. The 90-94 front plate in flo-red was hard to find for under $45. The 95+ front plate was under $20 and easily available, so I took the cheap way. I also like this style better, so that was a deviation I didn't mind making. I was told that it would fit, and yeah, if you don't mind fabricating all new mounts it fits. The upper mount had to be moved about 3/4 inch higher so I used my angle grinder to crank out a quick-n-dirty bracket. I still need to make a bottom mount.

I wish I could close the gap to the fender a hair, but the plate is sitting right up to the brake line bracket. So I'll probably leave it as is. (FUN FACT - I used that piece of aluminum to stir logs in a bon fire last year. I watched it glow red and bend in half. Next morning I pulled it from the ashes and bent it straight, figuring I may use it for something)






Lastly, I got the fork guards installed.



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6/19/2018 10:28 PM

Keep up the good work mate. Are you doing any coating or aiming for a nice clean stock rebuild? I like what you did with the bash plate situation

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6/20/2018 6:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/20/2018 6:54 AM

Thanks, I just want a nice clean stock bike that I won't be too afraid to brutalize in the woods. I was also trying to keep costs somewhat in check. As of now, I've got about $3150 grand total in this thing which is not as bad as it could be I guess.

Here is a frustrating vid of the bash plate.

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6/20/2018 10:20 PM

I wasn't going to work on the bike tonight, but then I started trimming out a paper template for the lower bracket on the front number plate. Before I knew it, I was outside in the rain, in my boxers, holding a flashlight in my mouth, trying to cut an aluminum bracket with my angle grinder.

I ended up with something that will work good enough for me to forget about for now. Just so people know, a 95+ CR500R number plate will fit a 92 after you do this stuff. But at this point, I suppose any number plate will "fit."




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6/21/2018 7:37 AM

Looks awesome, Micah!!! Very cool seeing the step-by-step process...

Interesting looking back at the multi-tapered upper fork legs from that era...

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