Watch A Guy Bring Home, Diagnose, And Repair This Suzuki RMZ 250
Fixing what previous owners did is sometimes half the battle.
If we had a dime for every previous owner horror story that we’ve either lived or heard, chances are excellent that we could at least all chip in for a $1,500 nightmare of a secondhand dirtbike, like the Suzuki RMZ 250 in this video. Those who have a soft spot for hard-done-by bikes that just need a little time and care will find plenty to enjoy here.
Now, we will spoil you just a little and let you know that even though the video doesn’t start with a bike in running condition, don’t worry—it does end up in running order by the end. Like some of the best rides, though—it’s not totally about the destination, but the journey. (The real friends we made were the completely bonkers valve clearances we met along the way!)
Let’s rewind to the beginning of the story, though. It starts innocently enough. YouTuber 2Vintage, who likes to pick up and fix up dirt bikes, snowmobiles, ATVs, and all sorts of similar recreational vehicles, found a used RMZ 250 that looked promising. It’s over an hour’s drive away, and after chatting with the current owner, he managed to talk him into a price of $1,500—and if it’s in significantly worse shape when he checks it out, he may also negotiate down from there.
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The deal ends up a little rushed, but the previous owner states that a) it has spark, and b) he rebuilt the top end, but stopped short of doing the valve clearances because he thinks they need shims and he’s never done it before. There’s at least a little more weirdness going on as well, because the chain is off the bike (although it looks OK and is included with the sale).
It’s not 2Vintage’s first time buying a used dirt bike, though, and he decides it’s worth it to see if he can get this bike running without too much trouble. They load it up into his truck, and pretty soon, he’s on his way back home.
There’s good compression, and there’s spark—but still, it won’t start. Strangely, there’s no coolant—and once the plastics and fuel tank come off, it’s clear that there are even more issues lurking beneath the surface. No air filter is one thing. Completely out-of-whack timing and intake valves that are ridiculously far out of spec (with no shims whatsoever) are another. Are the valves bent? Thankfully, no, though that was a possibility he considered before examining and fixing these issues.
Once the valve clearances are correct, and the timing is back where it should be, he buttons up the engine and tries kick-starting the poor thing again. Sadly, it’s still not ready to go—so the next suspect is (of course) the carburetor. It appears to be the stock Keihin unit, and indeed, there are a few issues lurking just inside, as well. Clogged jets aren’t a big surprise, but it’s completely missing a main jet. Also, the diaphragm on the accelerator pump has a nice little tear in it, so it’s clearly time for a new one.
Is the carb rebuild the final piece of the puzzle to get this bike back out in the dirt? Thankfully, it seems to do the trick. Still, this whole experience is a lesson in always checking over any new-to-you bike that you bring home. The trouble is, unless it’s someone you know very well, there’s no telling what previous owners may have done to a bike—or what their skill and comfort levels were when they worked on it. Good intentions are awesome, but you can’t make a bike run on good intentions alone.