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Discussion Starter #1
I have an opportunity to get an 88' Zilla. What should I know about the machine before I dive in head first? According to the add, it's stock, aside from a Wiseco piston and an FMF fatty. I've heard there are some reliability issues with the Zilla, is that true? Thanks in advance.
 

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Reliability issues? Nothing different than any other 80's 2-stroke, really. If you ride them hard and/or neglect basic maintenance, they will wear faster - period. None of this stuff is required, but will make your machine a reliable beast:

1. Wrist pin bearing - use the RM bearing
2. Thrust washers - stock are steel and when goes, it will grind up your bottom end. Use the aluminum shoulder-less thrust washers
3. 1987 head - uses 6 x 8mm bolts and should be upped to 10mm if you're pouring on the power mods. '88+ uses 7 x 8mm bolts
4. Frame head-stay - don't bolt the head to the frame to reduce likelihood of head gasket leak
5. Exhaust bridge - when getting a bore/hone, the exhaust bridge should be relieved (on ANY 2-stroke that applies).
6. Piston optimization - drill holes for extra piston lube and cooling
7. Head squish - get your squish optimized
8. Clutch-side crank bearing is known to wear-out its pocket after years of hard riding. Check the crank for side-to-side and up-n-down play. If your getting into the engine cases, get the bearing pockets a new set of inserts. Tough to check this when you go look at one though.
9. On any LT...look for coolant out of the weep hole or if it's been caulked over. This means the water pump seals may be gone and need replaced. No biggie.


That's about it. Like I said, a lot of it pertains to any two-stroke. Look for the obvious stuff and quiz the guy.

Just remember...no one ever sells anything because it runs too good! lol


Edit: Just realized you're in Michigan. Is there an ad to the one you're looking at? A picture can tell a story or few and this site has a lot of experts. This one?? http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/bar/2972948730.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Reliability issues? Nothing different than any other 80's 2-stroke, really. If you ride them hard and/or neglect basic maintenance, they will wear faster - period. None of this stuff is required, but will make your machine a reliable beast:

1. Wrist pin bearing - use the RM bearing
2. Thrust washers - stock are steel and when goes, it will grind up your bottom end. Use the aluminum shoulder-less thrust washers
3. 1987 head - uses 6 x 8mm bolts and should be upped to 10mm if you're pouring on the power mods. '88+ uses 7 x 8mm bolts
4. Frame head-stay - don't bolt the head to the frame to reduce likelihood of head gasket leak
5. Exhaust bridge - when getting a bore/hone, the exhaust bridge should be relieved (on ANY 2-stroke that applies).
6. Piston optimization - drill holes for extra piston lube and cooling
7. Head squish - get your squish optimized
8. Clutch-side crank bearing is known to wear-out its pocket after years of hard riding. Check the crank for side-to-side and up-n-down play. If your getting into the engine cases, get the bearing pockets a new set of inserts. Tough to check this when you go look at one though.
9. On any LT...look for coolant out of the weep hole or if it's been caulked over. This means the water pump seals may be gone and need replaced. No biggie.


That's about it. Like I said, a lot of it pertains to any two-stroke. Look for the obvious stuff and quiz the guy.

Just remember...no one ever sells anything because it runs too good! lol


Edit: Just realized you're in Michigan. Is there an ad to the one you're looking at? A picture can tell a story or few and this site has a lot of experts. This one?? http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/bar/2972948730.html
Yea I've figured out the hard way that the bridge NEEDS to be relieved. My 86 CR5 didn't appreciate it not getting relieved.... Lookin to get the Zilla because, well it's a 500cc two stroke ;D and also theres a LOT more room to work with it, compared to say a 'shee or 250R. That is actually the add I was looking at too. Thanks for the info too.
 

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Small world!

It look fairly stock plus the FMF, but clean. Never seen that brake caliper cover thing before. And that headlight is not stock. Nice fenders, seat, and wheels. I've got those exact same spider-tracs on my '88 and they rock in the snow and dirt.

The exhaust bridge thing...yep, I learned that from the Honda buggies that I mess with.

if you pick this one up...if it has the stock carb, dump it on feeBay and pick-up a Keinhin PWK39. It made a WORLD of a difference for me. Mine is also .080 over, with a PWK39 and Trinity pipe and I'm at 180/50 main/pilot running 50-50 pump/race fuel and Amsoil syn. Ridiculous throttle response and power. Totally addited to thee babies, that's why I'mm rebuiling my #2 and #3 Zilla. :Cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Small world!

It look fairly stock plus the FMF, but clean. Never seen that brake caliper cover thing before. And that headlight is not stock. Nice fenders, seat, and wheels. I've got those exact same spider-tracs on my '88 and they rock in the snow and dirt.

The exhaust bridge thing...yep, I learned that from the Honda buggies that I mess with.

if you pick this one up...if it has the stock carb, dump it on feeBay and pick-up a Keinhin PWK39. It made a WORLD of a difference for me. Mine is also .080 over, with a PWK39 and Trinity pipe and I'm at 180/50 main/pilot running 50-50 pump/race fuel and Amsoil syn. Ridiculous throttle response and power. Totally addited to thee babies, that's why I'mm rebuiling my #2 and #3 Zilla. :Cheers:
I also have the spider trac tires on 86 LT250R, they were great when they weren't almost bald haha. I've heard nothing but great things about the PWK airstryker, but if I get one it's going on my CR500 first ;D What ratio do you run with the premix? On my CR5' I run 32:1 with Honda HP2 oil and straight race gas.
 

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I run trackmaster 111 octane at 32-1, also check the front of the frame for cracks around the bottom of the steering stem. Pull the seat off and look for cracks in the seat bracket and the plastic. I'd also recommend getting the Duncan air box mod as well the stock setting is a little iffy IMO
 

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Yep, 32:1 gets 'er done.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yep, 32:1 gets 'er done.
I've heard people run 500s at 50:1, 40:1, 32:1, even 20:1. I had a Honda FL250 that ran 16:1, smoked more than an old Russian tank haha. Getting the Zilla may not be an option now since some personal stuff came up though... But I WILL eventually get one.
 

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Shouldn't be too hard to find one in the "populated half" of Michigan. Seems likes there's at least a couple posted regularly. use www.searchtempest.com to do a broader search of Craigslist.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Shouldn't be too hard to find one in the "populated half" of Michigan. Seems likes there's at least a couple posted regularly. use www.searchtempest.com to do a broader search of Craigslist.
Last year I saw an 87 Zilla that was extremely built up and the guy wanted something like $3000 for it. Was made strictly for the dunes and 'killed everything.'

I happen to have a spare 87 LT250R frame and a KZ1000 motor that needs a home... We'll see if that happens.

EDIT** It's actually an 86 LT250R frame.
 

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Some pretty good advice to go by here, also some I don't agree with. The LT frames are prone to cracking at the welds, a few places were mentioned but look at all the welds. Broken welds are an easy fix as long as you catch them early. Another thing nobody seems to mention is the lower ball joints, Suzuki put out the worst design ever. The first thing I'd do is buy two new pinch bolts and install them. Kawasaki used the same design with the Mojave and I've seen the ball joints fall out of the spindle on both machines, luckily there were never major injuries but it could have easily been different.

Air box mod is a must, the Duncan one is ok but I like SBLT500's better if you can get in touch with him. One thing that Dmoney said might be confusing so I'll clarify it, you only run the RM wristpin bearing with the billet washers. The bearing out of a 1999 RM250 is narrower to allow for the extra width of the aluminum washers. Most guys know this and if you order the washer it even says on the ad to only use this bearing but how it was listed as 1&2 above might confuse someone that thought it was 2 different things when it is actually the same mod.

Couple things I don't agree with, I've never seen a lt500 with an exhaust bridge but I haven't seen all the different years so there could be one but I don't think so. I also wouldn't go drilling holes in a zilla piston, the 250 yes, Wiseco even shows you where to drill them and what size but I've never heard of anyone drilling holes in a zilla piston. Several builders port them but you need to know what you're doing to do that.

The other thing I don't agree with is the 39pwk carb. I had two of them on my zilla, a stock 39 and a Sudco bored 41.5, I didn't like either of them. I know plenty of guys that love them on the bikes but they just don't seem to work as well as the factory Mikuni on the zilla. I ended up buying an oem carb, had it bored and love it, wish I would have done it a few years ago and saved the headaches. You can have them bored for around $45. Take a look at the LT500 jetting thread over on QHQ and see how many guys are using the pwk, I don't think there are any but I haven't looked at it for a while, might be one. Most of the builders recommend the Mikuni also, I know Iceracer has been switching over, Tony at T&N won't touch a pwk and I'm pretty sure Jerry Hall sets all his bikes up for the Mikuni.

All in all they're a good bike, they have their quirks like any other but most are easily remedied. Rebuild it with a Wiseco piston and the billet washers, send the head out and have it done by one of the Zilla builders, not your local mechanic or machine shop, leak test it then fill it up with race gas/927 @ 32:1 and ride.
 

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I know this is a little off topic but does anyone know how to get ahold of SBLT500? I noticed his website isn't working anymore, that's the reason I ended up going with the Duncan airbox mod
 

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He's not on HQ much anymore, you can find him sometimes on the dead LT site that nobody ever goes on. I'll pm you the last email I have for him, not sure he wants it posted.
 

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Here is Shawn's email. [email protected] . He is a good guy and will help you out. X2 on the PWK, keep them on the Honda 250r. They work good on them. I have a Hall prepped TM38 and a 44 Lectron that works good on a Zilla.
 

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Couple things I don't agree with, I've never seen a lt500 with an exhaust bridge but I haven't seen all the different years so there could be one but I don't think so. I also wouldn't go drilling holes in a zilla piston, the 250 yes, Wiseco even shows you where to drill them and what size but I've never heard of anyone drilling holes in a zilla piston. Several builders port them but you need to know what you're doing to do that.

I've never relieved the exhaust bridge or done the piston-drill thing on my Zillas -- only my Honda Odyssey FL350R's which are air-cooled and thus prone to heat issues.
 
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