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The only difference between 88-90 LT500's were the color of the a-arms & the stickers. The change to the front suspension was on the 88, new steering arms & steering stem.
 

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Ok here is the low down.

The 87 LT250 and 500 have the bigger intake. This will make it faster if properly adjusted. The 87's by most shop standards is the better cylinder because you can really open it up with a port and polish. However on the LT500 87 it is a 6 bolt head which has issues with studs pulling up from the compression. This can be fixed with larger studs. The 88-90 had 7 studs. (I think that is right I know the 88-90 has one more stud than the 87 not sure if it is 5 studs and 6 studs though)

The cylinders are interchange able so you can put and 87 cylinder onto whatever lower end you want. There were no changes to the lower end. This means you can get what ever cylinder you want but you have to get the head to match.

I am really not sure which is better I have been told that they can open the 88 and up cylinders to be as fast as the 87. I still think the 87 cylinders are better. In the stock state the 87's are faster.

Put it this way I think 1Dirracing makes a reed cage for the 87 that is 10 or 12 petals. I think the 88 and up only can fit a 6-8 petal. This is for the 500 not sure about the 250 though. I know they make reeds for the 250 because I am getting a set for my LT
 
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