Yamaha Tenere long-term test
Not only is MOTORRAD’s long-distance bike causing grief, Yamaha also seems to be in trouble with the XT 600 Tenere.
At 18,500 kilometers, two symptoms warned that the third inspection on the test Tenere should be carried out immediately: grinding noises when driving in fifth gear and telltale oil mist at the front between the cylinder and cylinder head. The dismantling of the engine then revealed that a gearwheel in fifth gear had actually lost a tooth, and both gears showed considerable signs of wear. Although the editors are aware that this mishap also happened to some other Tenere and SRX riders, one should not speak of typical damage. On the other hand, the situation is different with the cylinder head gasket: Here damage occurs to an alarming extent. That also moved Yamaha, the dealers for that XT 600 Tenere recommend extensive remedial measures. Because the threads for the head fastening screws in the cylinder give way, according to Yamaha, the head gasket may leak. For this reason, customer machines should be fitted with longer screws with a larger diameter if they are damaged. The head screw threads in the cylinder must of course be lengthened. For this purpose, heli-coil inserts are intended to replace the threads. The aim of the whole exercise: The thicker screws do not expand as much under the influence of heat and therefore work less hard in the threads.
Major damage: the gear wheels of the fifth gear had lost some material after 18,500 km.
The long-term test XT did not enjoy the entire fitness program, but after its head was planed again, it still seemed to run quite well. Exactly 2000 kilometers, then, of all things, heli-coil missions, which had been used at a distance of 8500 kilometers, put an end to the journey. They had loosened, a thread repair was impossible, and the Tenere got a new cylinder and piston in northern Italy. In general, the whole courier shop seems to bypass the sealing problem at the core: After all, the first Tenere acquired a downright legendary reputation as undemanding long-distance motorcycles, and defective head gaskets were as alien to them as most other motorcycles. It wasn’t until Yamaha renovated the model and equipped it with a tank that was pulled down in the flanks that the trouble began. Since then, there has obviously been a build-up of heat around the Tenere head. For this reason, the MOTORRAD test machine has been driving around with a sawed-off front mudguard for some time, and for this very reason, many drivers, especially when heading for hot regions, equip the Tenere with slotted or lowered mudguards from the accessory trade. MOTORRAD will systematically examine the effects of such modifications and publish them at the latest in the long-distance test. Especially since Yamaha itself seems to be following similar tracks: As they say, the new Tenere from 1988 comes with a mudguard that is attached directly above the front wheel.
Tighten the cylinder head bolts
At this point it should be pointed out that there is at least one other weak point for cylinder head gasket damage: the front stud bolt of the cylinder head is hidden exactly behind the tube of the frame support. Because the frame girder has to be dismantled if the nut of the bolt is to be retightened, it is often forgotten. XT drivers should therefore make sure that the workshop actually takes all of them into account when tightening the cylinder head bolts. Otherwise, you run the risk of the head twisting slightly and having to be milled off in an expensive treatment. In any case, if the seal is damaged, it is advisable to check carefully whether the head is still flat. Otherwise the same mishap could happen as MOTORRAD employee Kai-Uwe Widdeke. After installing the seals and driving 40 kilometers, he had to turn around to plan the head and have a new seal installed. number five.
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