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1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

  • 87warrior
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1978 DT250E | Project: neglect was created by 87warrior

This is my 1978 DT250E project. I picked it up in 2018 with aspirations of doing a little work and getting it ridable. NOTE: That did not happen 

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Here it is on the day I picked it up. It was Memorial Day Weekend, 2018.
 

The kid I bought it from had been diagnosing a no spark condition. He had cut many wires and temporarily held random piece of wire in place with wire nuts. Luckily it looked like most of the bike was complete.

I found most of the ground wires in the wire harness were burned and melted through, along with many others. 
 
 

I am no stranger to reading a wire diagram and immediately fixed the burned and melted wiring along with patching the wires cut by the previous owner. I was still not successful at getting the bike to spark. I replaced all of the 6v ignition system components coil, rectifier, points, condenser and even the battery. The bike still would not spark. I even removed the engine kill switch and set the timing. It still would not spark. 

I replaced the tach cable since the original was damaged.

I went for a "Hail Mary" and decided to upgrade the ignition and electrical system to 12v with the Rex's Speedshop kit. It took a few tries to buy it since my credit card company was sure a transaction in England was fraudulent. I completed the 12v conversion with electronic ignition. The bike STILL refused to spark. I piled the parts in the corner of the garage and decided to come back to it another day.  
1978 DT250
Last edit: 23 Jun 2022 12:06 by 87warrior.
23 Jun 2022 11:39 #1

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Replied by 87warrior on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

… the next time I looked at the bike was 4 years later!

Over Memorial Day weekend of 2022, I attended a Grand Prix race in the small town of Florence Kansas. The first race of the day was a vintage class.
 
 

I watched the race and was immediately inspired to figure out what was wrong with the DT.

I went to the garage and got back to it. I pulled the plug out of the head, held it to the side of the head and kicked the motor over. Still no spark. I start inspecting every electrical connection across the bike. I’ve completely rewired a vehicle before and never had this much trouble getting something to work. As I inspect the connections behind the headlight, I realize something. This bike has an ignition key. This key is in the OFF position. I flip the key to ON and kick the bike over. There it is! The brightest blue spark I have ever seen.

Prior to buying a WR250R in 2020, I never had a bike with a key. All of my 2T dirtbikes in the years past just had a kill switch. How embarrassing 

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I turn my attention to the carburetor. Every small engine carb needs cleaned out and resealed after sitting for many years. The rebuild goes well and it reminded me of a Yamaha Blaster carb I had in the late 90’s.
 

Once the carb was rebuilt and put back on the bike, I funneled some premix to the carb since the tank was off the bike. It still doesn’t start. I find a mud dauber had established residence in the silencer.
 

After cleaning the silencer out, it started up on the second kick!
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1978 DT250
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Last edit: 24 Jun 2022 06:54 by 87warrior.
23 Jun 2022 11:42 #2

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Replied by 87warrior on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

Luckily the fuel tank is pretty rust free. I was eager to get the previous owners spray paint off the bike so I media blasted the tank in the driveway.
 

Some of the old decal adhesive was left on the tank. I did leave the dents in the tank as I feel they help tell the bike's story.
 

I laid down several coats of filler primer with many hours of wet sanding before putting down the first coat of blue. I used the Duplicolor DE1621 “Old Ford Blue” since I have a fondness for blue Yamaha’s.
 

Initially I was disappointed in the color. After a few coats and a bit more wet sanding, this seemed like a baby blue; not at all what I was hoping for.
 

After applying a coat of the high gloss SprayMax 2K, I was really liking the color. 
1978 DT250
Last edit: 23 Jun 2022 17:24 by 87warrior.
23 Jun 2022 11:46 #3

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Replied by 87warrior on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

I then applied some eBay reproduction graphics and put another coat of 2K clear on the tank.
 

After changing the transmission oil (I used the same Mobil 1 4T Racing 10w-40 as I run in my WRR) I cleaned the air filter, lubed the chain and temporarily installed the seat and took it for a ride around the yard!

 
 
1978 DT250
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23 Jun 2022 11:51 #4

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Replied by msavitt on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

nice work!
I love that 2K stuff
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23 Jun 2022 15:32 #5

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Replied by msavitt on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

ps: where did you get the "U" shaped pipe guard painted red?
that exhaust pipe guard and the locking airbox cover (not worth $500 to me) are the only two parts that would make my 400E complete
23 Jun 2022 15:34 #6

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Replied by 87warrior on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

The pipe guard came with the bike when I purchased it. Is it a rare/difficult to find piece? I don't think my airbox lid is locking. I simply attached it with 3 screw, but who knows, maybe I missed something about it. This is my first vintage Yamaha, so I am still learning.

That 2K stuff is going to be a rattle can game changer for me. It goes down so smooth. I hope it is resistant to fuel as they claim. 
1978 DT250
23 Jun 2022 17:22 #7

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Replied by msavitt on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

omg that 2K stuff is tough stuff and even a knucklehead like me can lay it down nice. 

to me that guard is rare until I find one for $20 

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The air cleaner cover is same pn for 250E and 400E and held down by 3 screws...the plastic hinge breaks off and to your point "what locking cover".  Here's a link to a $250 broken one, what a joke!
cover

 
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23 Jun 2022 17:29 #8

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Replied by 87warrior on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

Work on the DT has been slow the past few weeks due to it being unbearably hot outside. 

I fit the gray DC Plastics front and rear fenders to the bike. It was surprisingly easy to drill the necessary mounting holes and get them to fit. Using a stepped drill bit gave a really smooth hole in the plastic with a slightly chamfered edge. I fit the fenders with new grommets and hardware from Yamaha. 


The bike was missing the exhaust baffle insert since I bought it. Before installing the new DC Plastic fender, I wanted to find a baffle so the exhaust wouldn't point directly at the fender. Since these are no longer available from Yamaha, I went to eBay looking for a used baffle or silencer with the baffle. Ugh, why are DT parts so pricey. Thanks to the forum I learned a RT180 shares the same baffle and was able score a RT180 silencer from eBay. The baffle fit like a glove.

I also installed new K&S 25-4015 rear turn signals. These bolted on great, but the power wires were too short, so they had to be extended to reach the plugs.

I then turned my attention to the wheels, tires and brakes. I spooned on Shinko SR241 tires with new tubes and rim strips. The rear brake shoes were replaced with Yamaha replacements. The front brake shoes still had a lot of life left in them, so I knocked the glaze down with emery cloth and reinstalled them. I have Tusk replacement shoes on hand for the front if necessary. I also re-bent the rear brake rod to only have one sweeping bend in it.

With the safety features finally in operable condition, I took the bike for a quick ride down the road. The speedometer hit 70mph before I knew what was happening. It is running really well.
 
 

Now I need to install the DC side panels, install the mirrors and verify the Autolube pump is working (I've been running premix so far). Soon it will be tagged and ready for a trip to town 

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1978 DT250
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25 Jul 2022 08:41 #9

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Replied by RacerClam on topic 1978 DT250E | Project: neglect

Good project with good results 

Rich
racerclam
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25 Jul 2022 10:14 #10

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