I like a challenge when it comes to cleaning up dirt bikes. I found this 2003 TTR 250 for sale and I felt I would give it a go since I had never done one before. There was some work to be done, but I was up for the project. This particular bike didn’t need much engine work, but the electrical was a mess. The plastics were also slightly faded and worn. Sometimes its hard to buy new plastics and lights when they are still in good shape structurally. I knew I could fix these issues without too much effort.
Lets take a look!
As with most projects I begin, I needed to give this bike a good cleaning to get the grease build up and dirt off as best I could. The seat needed to be recovered and plastics cleaned up.
I felt the bike needed new tires and some contrast in the plastics.
The lights didn’t work because the wiring was all tangled and hooked up incorrectly. The following photo shows the rats nest I had to deal with.
After giving the bike a nice cleaning, I usually take inventory of the parts and tools I may need. Occasionally I find other things I need as I get further into a project. Here is what I came up with for this bike:
List of what needs to be done:
- Wash bike
- New tires
- Redo electrical connectors, possibly new wiring
- Clean up plastics – Plastics for some reason on this particular bike are hard to come by. I haven’t found anything aftermarket and OEM plastics are very pricey.
- Oil change
- Clean air filter or replace if needed
- Hand grips
- New seat cover
- Lube chain – replace if needed
- Clutch – bike wasn’t shifting very well
- Inspect other critical components (sprockets, valves, cables, etc.)
Once I had my list started, I could then order the parts and products I need and get started on this fun transformation.
To start, I needed to get everything removed from the bike to get a good idea of where to start. I like to take pictures so I don’t forget where everything goes when its time to put it back on. I like to label bags for small parts so I don’t loose anything. Small bolts like to get lost when you really need them, I’ve learned this the hard way!
Once I got into the electrical, I realized it was a mess. I didn’t trust it so I ended up taking out what I could and replacing it. Be sure to use proper wiring techniques and components.
Now on to the plastics. I explained a little earlier in my list that plastics for this bike can be hard to come by for a reasonable price. That’s mainly for the side panels. Fenders not so much. These fenders were still in decent shape so I decided to keep them and clean them up.
The plastics were a little sunbleached and had several stress marks.
Overall, the plastics were in good condition. Meaning no breaks, cracks, or chips. There are a few tricks to help them look nice again.
Here are a few tips for how I restore the plastics. There may be other methods but these work pretty well for me.
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RESTORING PLASTICS YOU WILL NEED:
*DO NOT use a heat gun on or around the gas tank or fuel sources.
To remove stress marks, simply use the heat gun and heat the plastics in the stressed areas until the white marks work themselves out. Do not melt the plastic or hold the heat in one area too long. Once you have the white marks diminished and the plastics look like you want them to, its time to use the Wipe New. I’ve found this stuff works pretty well in bringing the shine back into the plastics. Apply as directed on the box and let it dry. Use in a well ventilated area because it does have a pretty strong vapor.
If doing graphics, it is easiest to do them off the bike.
Once I cleaned up the plastics, I moved on to installing the other parts.
Here is the list of parts that went into this bike.
PRODUCT LIST FOR 2003 TTR 250:
*Always verify parts are for the correct make and model. Some of these links or parts may have changed or vary slightly from the time I purchased them.
- Front tire
- Back tire
- Heat gun
- Wipe New – for plastic restoration
- Powder free Nitrile gloves
- Air Filter
- Motor Oil
- Hand grips
- Chain Lube– Bel-Ray brand
- Seat cover– black
- Vinyl graphics – I just sized and cut white glossy vinyl to fit the side panels and front number plate
After some time and hard work, its time to check out the final product! The exciting part is seeing everything come together. Now I can be a little more confident the bike will be a little more reliable for many years to come.
This bike is ready for the trails and YES, the lights work now!
The plastics turned out really nice didn’t they? Believe it or not, this is the same plastic. Again, it’s not always needed to buy new ones.
New tires are ready to hit the dirt or road and provide many more miles of riding! These were actually DOT approved tires.
Let me know what you think.
If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear them.