Posts tagged Maintenance

Check Your XR650R Thermostat


The Honda XR650R Thermostat is known to fail regularly. This isn’t a drastic issue, but will cause your engine to run under non optimum temperature conditions if not treated. It’s a good idea to check your thermostat from time to time and if it looks something like the photo below then it is time to be replaced.

Honda XR650R Thermostat

Clutch Bushing Inspection


From time to time it’s a good idea to inspect your clutch bushing for wear. Wear can create slop in the clutch and over time significant damage to the basket. These parts aren’t known to wear at any accelerated rate, but next time you replace your clutch plates make a point to pull off the basket and have a look. This is what you’ll see when you remove the XR650R clutch basket.

Follow the directions in the service manual available on this site.

Maintenance and Service Interval Schedule


It’s a little small but is readable if you squint a bit. These are the intervals recommended by Honda that you service your XR650R.

Adjust the XR650R Clutch


Clutch adjustments on the XR650R are simple to make. The clutch can be adjusted both at the perch on the handlebars and at the arm on the left side of the engine.

The factory recommends between 10 and 20 millimeters of free play on the lever before the clutch begins to be engaged.

XR650R Clutch Adjustment

Minor adjustments can be made at on the perch:

  • Pull back the rubber dust cover to expose the clutch cable adjuster
  • Loosen the locknut with your fingers
  • Spin the clutch cable receiver further into or further out-of the clutch lever until the correct amount of play is in the lever
  • Tighten the lock nut

If more significant adjustments need to be made, or if you have just replaced the clutch cable or any related assembly, you can adjust the cable on the left side of the engine.

XR650R Clutch Adjustment Lower

  • Loosen the locknut with a 12 open end wrench
  • Adjust the cable forward or backward using the adjuster until the desired amount of play is found
  • Tighten the locknut

There isn’t much more too it than that.

Clean the XR650R Carb


Periodically any dirtbike will need it’s carburetor cleaned. Especially a bike which has been sitting unused for a while or improperly stored through the winter months.

This article is not meant to help diagnosing running issues, that is covered elsewhere. This page is only here to provide advice on cleaning the XR650R carburetor (factory or otherwise).

  • Start by removing the seat and gas tank to give access to the carburetor.


  • Loosen the clamps on the intake manifold and airbox boot.
  • Wiggle the carb out from the boots and pull it into the open.
  • Disconnect the throttle cables

XR650R Stock Carb Diagram


More to come here once I have the necessary photos. I wrote a very comprehensive article about how to clean a motorcycle carburetor on my restoration blog. It will be helpful if you’ve never touched a carb before.

Adjust the XR650R Valves


Checking and adjusting the valves on the XR650R is a simple procedure. Here is how.

  • Remove the seat and the tank from the bike to give you access to the top of the engine.
  • Clean around the valve inspection covers so there is no loose dirt.
  • Remove the valve inspection covers.
  • Remove the large left side engine cover to expose the flywheel and timing inspection marks.
  • Rotate the crank counterclockwise using the large bolt on the flywheel. Line up the “T” mark with the small notch at the top of the housing.
  • Wiggle the valves with your fingers. If they wiggle a little up and down then you are ready to check and adjust them. If there is no play in them rotate the crank again, match up the “T” and check again. The goal is to adjust the valves at Top Dead Center on the compression stroke. At this point all four valves will have wiggle in them.
  • One by one insert feeler gauges between the valves and the tappets to check clearance. Intake valve clearances should be 0.15mm +/- 0.02mm (0.006in +/- 0.001in) and exhaust valve clearances should be 0.20mm +/- 0.02mm (0.008in +/- 0.001in)
  • The feeler gauges should have a slight drag when slid between the valves and the tappets.
  • To adjust the valve put a closed end wrench on the tappet nut and crack it loose. Use a screwdriver to adjust the tappet up or down to increase or decrease the clearance. Once it is in the right position, tighten down the tappet nut to hold it in place.
  • It is often a bit fiddly to get the tappet set perfectly. It will sometimes spit itself a little bit when tightening down the nut. You’ll get the hang of it quickly.
  • I prefer to spin the engine over a few times then recheck and verify all the clearances.
  • That’s it! Put the valve inspection covers back on. Put the side cover back on. Put the seat and tank back on.
  • Go riding!

(This post could use some photos. Anyone have some to contribute?)

XR650R Oil Change


The factory recommended change interval is every 600 miles. This is assuming fairly aggressive dirt only use. For those dual sporting or otherwise running their XR650R gently the distance can be extended quite a bit.

Factory capacity is 1.7 quarts with an oil filter change, 2.1 quarts with engine disassembly, 1.5 quarts with a simple oil drain.

Here is the procedure.

  • Make sure the bike is warm so the oil will drain out well.
  • Remove the dipstick/fill-plug on the top of the frame
  • Remove the oil tank drain bolt on the front lower portion of the frame. This will drain the oil out of the frame. It can be helpful to use a rolled piece of rolled paper to direct the oil into your drain pan without it running down the front of the frame.
  • Remove the engine oil drain bolt from the bottom left side of the motor. This will drain the oil out of the bottom end of the engine. Again it can be helpful to use a piece of rolled paper to direct the oil into your drain pan without making a mess.
  • Remove the oil filter from the right side of the engine by removing the 8mm bolts which hold on the cover. Gently pry off the oil filter cover if it does not pop out on it’s own.
  • Note the orientation of the oil filter so you put the new one in the same way.
  • Wipe out any residual oil from the oil filter housing with a rag.
  • ** I like to give the bike half a dozen kicks through to squirt out as much left over oil as possible from the oil filter housing. If you do this just be aware it will squirt out everywhere. Also make sure your kill switch is activated. You do NOT want the bike starting. ***
  • Put in the new filter and tighten down the cover. These bolts do not need to be very tight. Just snug. 9 ft-lbs is spec.
  • Put in the engine drain bolt and frame drain bolt. Again, don’t strip these bolts, just make them snug.
  • Pour 1.7 quarts of oil into the frame and put the plug dipstick back in place.
  • Kick the bike through half a dozen times to circulate the oil a bit.
  • Start the bike and go for a short ride.
  • Check the oil level and top up as necessary

(This post could use some photos. Anyone have some to contribute?)

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