Nicholas Fluhart

August 15, 2009

Project Recon

Filed under: Project: Honda Recon — Nicholas Fluhart @ 8:27 pm

I thought I’d make a post on a project I recently completed. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it turned out to be much more involved than I initially anticipated, as is usually the case with most projects. This is a 1998 Honda Recon 250 that I purchased late last year.

1998 Honda Recon 250 - Finished

1998 Honda Recon 250 - Finished

I bought it for $350 with the intention of fixing a few things and selling it for around $1500. That’s pretty much what I did, but I ended up fixing a lot more than I intended to fix. When I purchased it, I knew it needed a quick top-end rebuild, front brakes and wheel bearings, but the main thing it needed was to determine why it wouldn’t shift out of neutral. I have some experience with these engines and knew that sometimes the internal linkage could wear and bind which causes it not to shift. This is usually an easy fix. It’s best to pull the engine but you typically don’t need to split the main cases. I figured since I had to put a set rings in it, I might as well pull the engine anyway, so that’s what I did.

At the Bench

I removed the top end and side cases and began inspecting the shift linkage. This is where the first round of unexpected repairs began. I couldn’t see anything wrong or worn which was bad news because that meant the problem may be in the transmission and I would have to split the cases, so I did. And again, I couldn’t see anything wrong. I inspected the shift drum, forks, guide rail, and the dogs on the gears. Everything looked great. I reassembled the main cases, tried it again and I was able to shift it by hand perfectly. This was confusing. Clearly, something must have been in a bind and was now free. However, this was concerning because I didn’t actually repair anything and it could potentially fail again. It was at this time I decided to replace the whole gear set and linkage in the transmission to be on the safe side. Fortunately, a friend had a transmission he was not using so I was able to get everything I needed. Finally, hours of disassembling, reassembling, dissembling, and reassembling again, I completed the engine.

Completed Engine

Completed Engine

After I finished the engine, I went ahead and replaced the front bearings and seals, went through the drum brake assemblies and hung new springs and shoes. Although the rear brakes had new shoes, they didn’t work that great, so I disassembled them. That’s where the second round of unexpected repairs started. During inspection I found that the axle splines for the wheel hubs were worn almost completely smooth and the axle bearings had slack. So I pulled the axle and housing as well as the differential. It’s fairly easy to install axle bearings in a differential, but as I disassembled it I found that the pinion bearing also had slack. Pinion bearings require special tools and a lot of finesse. Fortunately, the gears were in good shape. What is more fortunate, is that I had just purchased another Recon for $100 and it had a lot of what I needed on it (I wish I had it back when I was working on the transmission).

On the Floor

After finishing the chassis, I put my attention back on the engine and installed it.

In the Frame

Once installed, it fired right up and ran perfectly. After it was all over, I had pretty much rebuilt the ATV from front to back, including a lot of cosmetic stuff. It turned out to be far more than I wanted to do and far more than I had time or energy, but when I finished I still only had about $650 or $700 in it, total. It took about five months working here and there in my spare time.

Finished

Until next time…

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