I Have No Idea What I'm Doing - 1973 Honda XL175

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
I figure some of you all might like following along with this.

I seriously have no idea what I'm doing. I have never ridden a motorcycle or dirtbike. I do, however, know that I like taking old junk, making it into not junk, and then either keeping and using or selling said not junk. Currently I have about 1.75 Honda XL175's. One is a 1973, the other is a 1974.

There's some story behind how I got these. This bike was for sale here. I ended up driving out a ways to see it, discovering it was seized. I left empty handed. A few weeks later my buddy pulled into my driveway with a present for me. While picking up an FSJ, he noticed an old incomplete orange dirtbike in the guys yard. Turns out the guy just wanted it gone, and gave it, along with a title, to my pal. He brought it over and dropped it off. A week or two after that, I reached out to the original seller to see if he still had the complete bike to hopefully come to a deal. He had just sold it the week before. Well, crap. I reached out to the guy that bought it to offer him the mess of parts/title that I have, and he told me he could be talked out of the complete bike, because he didnt want to deal with it being seized. We reached a deal and I brought it home last summer. So, at this point, I have somewhere around 1 2/3rds Honda XL175's.

Here's the "good" one. Its pretty much all there except turn signals and mirrors. A little bit of funky wiring. Odometer reads 1900 miles. Only major issue I've seen is the typical rusted out muffler to header joint, and the engine is seized, obviously. The kick starter shaft is NOT broken.



Here is is with the junky one that has a title. Missing the seat, the controls, mirrors, exhaust,chain, side panels, a bunch of other stuff, tank is dented, blah blah blah. I haven't tested the engine because the kick starter shaft IS broken on this one,, but supposedly it had low compression when parked, and had already been honed and had oversized rings. Has over 9000 miles on the odometer.



My plan here is to try and get the good one up and running in mostly complete form, for as little cost as possible. LEt me reiterate. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IM DOING HERE!

So, what better way to figure it all out than to just dive in? I was bored on Sunday. I rolled it under my little covered work area, and got to turnin' some wrenches. This all seems pretty easy . I say that because I went outside and an hour later I had the engine sitting on my bench and I'm pretty positive I didn't break anything.

I must say, aside from all the grease and leaked fuel and whatnot, this thing is clean. The tank has typical rust inside, but no corrosion anywhere on the chrome or frame or anything. The bolts all came right off using hand tools, no rust or anything.

So, here's where we are at currently.




I'll keep this updated as we go along and will post more as I make progress. Any help or suggestions are appreciated, as I really don't know what I'm doing lol.
 
Last edited:

69cj5

Active member
Very cool.

Not sure about the new off road laws, but used to be titles were rarely kept for these, so I would not be surprised in the least that the bike never had a title for anyone but the original owner.

If you can get the piston free, seems a bore/sleeve or possibly a new cylinder, if even possible to get, is in order. Maybe swap the piston and cylinder from the other bike, a bit of cleaning up and you should have a nice bike.
 

CashMoney

I piss excellence.
TMCC offers an awesome rider safety course and provides bikes to train on for 150. It fills up quick but definitely worth it and you get a card at the end to take to the dmv and get the endorsement for class m. Something to think about anyways.
 

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
TMCC offers an awesome rider safety course and provides bikes to train on for 150. It fills up quick but definitely worth it and you get a card at the end to take to the dmv and get the endorsement for class m. Something to think about anyways.


Thanks for the suggestion i absolutely intend to take a class.
 

wrenchjunkie

Active member
L.A. Sleeve in So.Cal. or Trinity Racing also in So.Cal. have resleeved vintage cylinders for me in the past. They were 2 strokes but they weren't scared by the 40 year old engines. Also, Honda of Troy in Troy MI. has a huge vintage parts warehouse.
 

Deluxxx

Active member
Very cool.

Not sure about the new off road laws, but used to be titles were rarely kept for these, so I would not be surprised in the least that the bike never had a title for anyone but the original owner.

If you can get the piston free, seems a bore/sleeve or possibly a new cylinder, if even possible to get, is in order. Maybe swap the piston and cylinder from the other bike, a bit of cleaning up and you should have a nice bike.

I soaked the cylinder for a week or more with all sorts of stuff. It's pretty well stuck.


I'm excited to see you get this together it would make a sweet bike.
 

WILLD420

Well-known member
Premium Member
If you want to save that motor call Poor Boy at Douglas Machine. Hes got experience with saving lost causes.
 

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
I soaked the cylinder for a week or more with all sorts of stuff. It's pretty well stuck.


I'm excited to see you get this together it would make a sweet bike.

yeah I had filled it with PB blaster a few times issue is it just leaks down. I'm considering grabbing some diesel and filling the case and cylinder so it has nowhere to go and letting that sit for a bit. Would be lovely to have some chemical solution do the trick but probably will have to pull it apart and get physical. It's a shame because it seems like it's in pretty decent shape otherwise.
 

WILLD420

Well-known member
Premium Member
Dry ice on the piston after warming the motor up good is one trick. Just don't blow yourself up.
 

69cj5

Active member
You are likely going to have to force it out somehow but after you get the piston out, it should just be a bit of machining, a new piston/rings and you will be good to go. Bike should clean up well with some work.
 

MrBfy

New member
It was told to me by the old hermit hoarder on My Siegel that lives offgrid.
He got that bike from someone he did handy man work for in trade for labor and drove the bike to his 40 acres on My Siegel and for some stupid reason drained the fluids and parked it and that's where it sat until he traded two bikes for my wife's '68 trail 90.

Wife needed $ to go visit her mom so told me to sell the bikes.
So I sold it then he sold it.
So, enjoy the bike. I hope you get it rolling.
Still have the '82 Zuke.
If someone wants more of a Streeter?


Mr Beefy's Droid
 

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
Well, i ended up getting the engine partially freed....then I promptly snapped off the crank bolt. Then i tried to drill it out, it was going well, but then i snapped a drill bit. The original engine is now dead as a door nail. It'll be stripped for parts after I cut the timing chain off. womp womp.

So, I snagged that engine in vegas for $125 when I was down there most recently. Looks like its got a decent number of miles but appears maintained, and it kicks easily. I'm weary of the kick shaft because I cannot get the kick lever off, but hey, its on there and it kicks so its good enough for now.

I got the engine back into the bike, and tested compression. It kicks to 145 and I'm told thats fine. No idea what it should go to, but supposedly that'll do.

Now, i have the original carb all broken down soaking in MMO because it was nasty. The 2nd engine came with a carb, but it appears to be an after market mikuni with a cable choke. I'm going to attempt to clean up the original one first. Once I have the carb cleaned and assembled, I will wire everything up, get a battery (these wont run without a charged batt) and see if I can get it started. From that point, I'll finish out by cleaning the gas tank (vinegar and a galvanized chain), and start about the full reassembly and touch up some of the wiring.



so....progress. It has a presumably workable engine now at least, and is going back together rather than coming apart.
 

Deluxxx

Active member
I feel like thats pretty good compression considering age. I'd bet the valve seals are pretty hard and it'll probably smoke abit but should run fine
 
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