By Winston “Boss” McKannick
KAWASAKI 500 TWO-STROKE
I’ve been a Kawasaki Tecate- 4
enthusiast for 15 years and own
five of them. I put ‘ 98–’ 99 KX250
cylinders of the six-speed T4’s
bottom end, and I’ve found that to
be a great combo. I have a spare
Tecate- 4 frame with a +8-inch
swingarm and +3-inch A-arms,
and I want to put a KX500 engine
in it. I’m concerned with vibration
since this engine doesn’t have a
counterbalancer, so I’ve already
planned on adding extra gussets
on key areas of the frame. The
Tecate- 4 250’s head has a provision
to mount a stay to the upper frame,
but they’ve never come with one.
Over the years I’ve seen headstays
mounted on KX500 engines in
Tecate- 4 frames. Do you think this
helps the frame better deal with
engine vibration or not? I intend to
have the crank balanced and trued.
I also use anti-vibe stems and handlebar mounts with brass inserts in
the ends. What advice and pointers
can you offer on this hybrid engine
The headstay does help the 500
engine. One was planned for the
250 but, as you can see, not needed. Crank balance seems to be
the deciding factor with vibration
intensity on these KX500 motors.
If you got one with the factory
balancing closer to perfect than
not, the perceived vibration is less.
Some KX500s just vibrate more than
others due to factory tolerances in
the balancing. It might be advantageous to have the crank balanced by a shop that knows KX500
engines. One thing you have overlooked is the kick-start for the 500
in a 250 frame. The kick-start shaft
needs to be extended to clear the
frame. Some people have extended
the cases with a weld-on section to
support the extended shaft. Others
have not, and I have not heard
anything bad about not using extra
support. Here is a very complete
documentary of a KX500 swap that
should answer a lot of your questions: http://www.kawieriders
UPGRADING SMALLER QUADS
I own an ‘06 Honda TRX250EX and
ride it mostly on trails that have mud,
ruts, rocks and can be pretty steep.
It has a K&N air filter, and I was
wondering what other economical
upgrades I could do to make it faster
and better on jumps while still being
reliable. Thanks for your advice.
Tires are sometimes overlooked as
a “performance” upgrade. Assuming
you are still running the OEM tires,
a new set of aftermarket tires will
enhance your EX’s performance.
A new slip-on muffler and K&N jet
kit will also increase performance.
“Better on jumps”—does that mean
better suspension to you? That can
get expensive fast, depending on
how high up the performance ladder
you want to go. Up front, not much
fits your 250EX. However, Diamond J
Customs makes a front-end-widening
and shock relocation kit that allows
many different OEM take-off shocks
to fit (http://diamondjcustoms
shock-conversion-kit.html). In the
rear a front 400EX shock will fit (with
some washers as spacers), but the
ride is softened quite a bit. Most rear
shock conversions are to soften the
ride because the stock rear shocks
are too stiff for lightweight riders. A
rear shock from a 300EX will fit and
might be a bit stiffer than your 250EX
for jumps (assuming you have a
bottoming problem). Actually, most
any 14.5-inch shock will fit. It’s just a
matter of finding one that suits your
I bought a PRP Pro steering sta-
bilizer for my wife’s 2006 YFZ450.
She doesn’t like me riding her
quad because I tend to break stuff.
However, I need to as a way to get
it adjusted right. I tried setting it up
for her, but it seemed like it wasn’t
doing anything unless I turned both
knobs fully hard. When you do that,
though, it becomes too hard to steer.
What settings do you guys use? What
settings do you recommend for my
Your wife appears to be smart,
son! Keeping people away from
her YFZ who tend to break it! What
your letter tells me is, you ride con-
siderably harder and faster than
she does. And since we only tested
the steering stabilizer on the track
simulating race situations, our set-
tings would not work for your wife.
However, that said, we just published an article online where we
discuss installation and setup of this
stabilizer on a YFZ. See it here:
http://dirtwheelsmag.com/home-page/product-test-prp-pro-steering-stabilizer. Between the included
instructions and our article, you
should be able to get the steering
stabilizer set up to her liking.
WHAT’S THAT NOISE?
I have a 1986 Yamaha YFM200
that started making a knocking
sound on the right side of the engine
case. I’m wondering if it could be the
cam chain tensioner. Could you tell
me what to check and how to fix it?
Also, the engine dies when I let off
the throttle and try to let it idle. Do
you have any tips on this? What are
other things I should keep an eye on
for a quad this old?
Son, your cam chain tensioner is
located on the left side of your Moto-
4. On the right side of your engine
is the oil pump, manual clutch and
automatic clutch. However, a knocking sound is classic crank bearings/
rod bearings. Read as not cheap!
Your idling problem might be related to your engine knock, that it just
can’t keep running at idle because
of the problem it has. Or, it could be
as simple as dirt in the carburetor
in the idle/pilot jet circuit. A good
cleaning may be in order here with
all the jets blown out. Things to
look out for are corroded electrical
connections and no spark issues.
You should obtain a service manual
for your Moto- 4, and here is quite
a good write-up on no spark issues
and how to troubleshoot the ignition
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