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Honda XR500 electric start conversion

Save a leg, be lazy.

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Yes, it is that that easy to start a XR500. Except when it is not.

You know, when the engine is flooded, when you are stuck in the mud, on a hillside, when the motor is too hot, when it is too cold, when it should f@#%&g start!

My right leg bears witness..

Electric start conversion: Video
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It goes like this:

"The FT500 motor is the same as the XR/XLS, with the bonus of electric start yeah? Let's put it in a dirt bike chassis and bob's your uncle."

If only it were that simple...

Electric start conversion: Our Products
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Electric start conversion: Products
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No chain. Did it ever run?

Needs a creative exhaust.

Bash plate for deep sump

Electric start conversion: Products

Important differences between the XR500 and the FT500 engines

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A lot going on on this side.

And we are just getting started...

Electric start conversion: Products

Exhaust headers

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XR500 header on FT500 cylinder head

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This means that a XR/XLS exhaust header will not fit.

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FT brackets (top) won't hold XR header

The XR500 exhaust header, positioned as properly as possible fouls the starter motor.

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Oil pumps are different

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Bodies and number of teeth are different.

Covers are different.

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Engine covers are very different

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Clutch cover FT500

Clutch cover XR500


Stator cover does not have a drain plug...

So we have to drill and tap one.

Electric start conversion: Products

A dirt bike has to have a kick starter, so let's get the best of both worlds.

But the FT500 engine cases has more surprises

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The flange for the unique FT500 deep sump has to be dealt with and there is no way to fit the simple XR500 oil mesh filter.

On the left side, of course, the new shape also found of the 1982 XL500R.

Electric start conversion: Products

It is a much bigger job that it seemed at first.

Here is a (incomplete) list of the parts needed for a proper dirt bike conversion.

  • FT500 engine

  • 1982 XL500R lower engine case (other models will not match the FT500 stator cover)

  • XR500 complete kick starter mechanism (XL500R will also work, but beware of the larger size of the outer shaft: will then need a XL500R clutch cover)

  • XR500 clutch cover with automatic decompressor lever (XL500R will also work, but beware of the larger size of the kick starter shaft hole: will then need a XL500R kick starter mechanism)

  • XR500 cylinder head to accommodate a XLS/XR/XRR exhaust header

  • XR500 valve cover to match the cylinder head (they are not all interchangeable)

  • XR500R (or XL500R) decompressor cam lever, brackets and cables

  • XR500 oil pump

  • XR500 oil filter mesh

  • XR500 drain plug and washer

  • FT500 CDI

  • Battery etc.

  • Handlebar starter switch

  • Gaskets, grommets etc.

Electric start conversion: Text

More information on the progress of the project soon. In particular... the electrics :) 

News will be posted on the XR500 Only facebook group.

Electric start conversion: Text
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