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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Project “Dirt Cheap Honda 300”

Alright, I don’t usually do these long “build” threads, but I did take a ton of pictures while I was getting this cheap clunker ready for a little challenge me and a buddy had planned out. The goal was basically to buy and mod any ATV we could find for less than $800 (Canadian) all in. With the exceptions being a battery for electric start, and whatever we needed to spend to get the brakes working. Since we didn’t want to mess around with pull starts or kick starts and also wanted to reduce the chance of crashing and dying……

I was able to find this 1996 TRX300 4x4 in running condition for $600, it does have a title with it. Here is a couple pictures from the ad.







It’s actually not THAT bad. It has a set of factory 12” Yamaha wheels, which are a nice upgrade from the factory 11” wheels. However, it seems the offset of the Yamaha wheels is lightly less than the factory Honda wheels, making the machine a little narrower. Or at least it seems that way. The tires are also OEM Yamaha, 25x8x12 up front and 25x10x12, a good size for the 300m but they are quite worn.
The rear end has already been replaced with that of what looks to be a 1985 250 Big Red. Judging by the way the rear end appears to have been cut from it’s original swingarm. The amount of fabricobling done to fit it is quite something.
Some other noteworthy things on first glance, it has a UNI filter, it smokes pretty good, the front wheel bearings and at least 2 ball joints are toast, the brakes act as if the front wheel cylinders are seized, the front rack is MIA, the rear rack is garbage. I could go on but let’s just get this poor thing in the shop and start stripping it down for some much needed TLC.

Tucked into the back of my shop





The wiring harness is a disaster. It should be replaced but we are working on a tight budget.









I pulled the harness off completely and took it into the house where I can work at it later on, on my couch lol

Moving on, this thing seems to be hemorging oil out of a few different areas. Looking at the puddle on my floor I decide to pull the drain plug and see if the copper washer is still there, this is what I found.



The bolt is mangled and the washer gone. Both should be replaced but we will address this later. I reinstalled it for now, I need to decide whether I am going to actually replace this or do a cheap fix.

Moving on, I remove the front diff from the frame,



Unsurprisingly it’s full of disgusting looking diff fluid. The bearings aren’t great and the seals need to be replaced but it’s just not in the budget.



I clean it up as best as I can.



A coat of shadtree’s favourite aluminum paint for the cases.



Let’s take a look at this differential assembly shall we.



Requires a special E10 socket to take apart




Special “cone” washer, we are going to add 2 of these to the diff to tighten it up some, it won’t be fully locked but a lot tighter than stock.



One for this side, making a total of 3, there is 2 there from the factory.



With that side done, flip it over and remove the ring gear.



Now we can install the extra washer on the other side. Reassemble the diff and it’s ready to go back in the bike.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I pulled the front knuckles to replace the lower ball joints and the wheel bearings. The ball joints are new but the boots were damaged. They won’t last long but they will last long enough. I find it easier to just remove the 4 bolts holding the upper and lower a-arms to the frame on either side and just remove the whole assembly. I gave it a coat of paint while the bearing was out. We’ll get back to this later.





I quickly gave the engine more of that shadetree aluminum paint treatment. Looks nice. I’ll deal with the overspray later.



Front of the frame gets some Wally world gloss black before the diff goes back in.



I took the front shocks apart with my spring compressor and painted them up nice.





Got the bearings out of my other shop for the front knuckles. Boss on one side and All balls on the other. New seals as well. These are both dirt cheap garbage China bearings but they will serve their purpose and I need to get rid of them.



While the front diff is out, I decided to try and build a home made 424 kit so I could have both 2 and 4wd. I had a spare driveshaft around so I had nothing to loose by trying. I cut the shaft in two and bored 3 nuts to fit over the shaft. I only ended up using 2 in the end.



I bought an impact socket to fit over the nuts and shortened it up some. I needed to do this so I would have room for it to pull back on the shaft far enough to disengage with the nut on the opposite end of the shaft.





Starting to come together



Grips on it were toast, so I picket these up on eBay for $10. I love ODI grips especially the Rogues, I run the lock-on version on the Rubicant.



Doing an old school paint job on the wheels. I used the cheap-o alumimun paint as a base then did the wheel centers in gloss black. Looks good from far but I put very little effort in masking them lol



Back to the driveshaft, I put a spring inside the socket to hold the socket back. Basically it will be in 2wd all the time unless the socket it pushed over the second nut on the other half of the shaft. I pushed the spring as far down in the socket as I could, drilled 2 holes in the socket and used the drill bits to hold the spring back. I didn’t want the spring to get hot when I welded the nut onto the shaft.







I cut a grove in the shaft, only shallow, I can put a clip over the shaft to hold the socket in the other direction locking it in 4wd. Coat of paint to finish it off.





Once I installed it in the bike, I realized the clip wasn’t going to work. 1 - it was going to interfere with the frame, and 2 - I figured it would just get torn off by swamp grass anyway and pop out of 4wd. I had to come up with a plan B.









That turned out pretty well I think. You just pull out on the handle and it releases the socket. Push the socket back down towards the T case and the fork pops back in behind it locking it back in 4wd.

With that done, the a-arms, axles, etc went back on and I dropped the bike back on all 4. I still have to deal with the brakes but we will move onto the rear end for now.





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Inside of the rear diff looked just as good as it sounded when I drove the thing off my truck….





Diff is out of the way, I need to fix this mess of a swingarm



I’ll start by replacing the swingarm bearings since they are shot.





Rear diff cases cleaned up and painted. The black is just some black paint I spilled or something.



Pinion bearing hole was worn, or eBay pinion bearing was too small. Either way we need to resort to some dirty tricks to make this work.



Aluminum can wrapped around the bearing wasn’t going to work so I resorted to an even dirtier trick and JB welded the pinion bearing into the housing. Lol Judge me if you want but this is rear end isn’t going to last regardless, trust me.



The ring gear bearings had seals in them for some reason. I removed them,





Got a better coat of paint on it once it was assembled. Can’t have too many coats.



Check out how ugly this swingarrm is, we’ll have to deal with this and if I ever find the pictures that show that I’ll be sure to add them here...lol






Brake delete done, time for new bearing, if I can find one in my shop.


Working on a shock mount for that ungly swingarrm



Rear shock was ugly, so I took one that came off my ‘01 Rancher and used that. It’s equally as crappy but not as much rust. Cleaned it up and painted to match the fronts.



Working on the rear wheels now



Lets quickly deal with the muffler



I found a soup can in the trash and decided to use that. Yes i could have used sheet metal, but it wouldn’t be as funny when someone looks at it lol





Cheap exhaust tip off eBay finishes it off, looks like an aftermarket pipe...sort of.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I ordered front brake backing plates and wheel cylinders off a 350 Rancher from eBay, they were cheaper than rebuilding what I have and look mint. Just came in. Once the rear end is done we will stand the bike back up and I’ll tackle this job.



Never-seize on the rear axle splines



Rear end is done, ready to re-install



One last thing on the diff, vent was broke. I drilled out a bolt and grinded the end of it in a barb-ish like shape



Just like that she’s back on





Take a break from the mechanical side and deal with some cosmetics for a change. These plastics have seen better days.





Plastic welder fixes them up pretty good. I weld on the inside to try and hide it a little bit.











The fenders are a bit ugly, paint overspray etc. I’ll try to clean them up some.





Bit of this over the top to make them shine.



Lets get back to that oil drain plug










Annealed to soften it again, copper work hardens easily.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Threw the rear fender on



Front brakes are on. These will work fine with the 300 drums.



Dug out an old snorkel off another 300 I had saved.





Mod the gas tank cap for a regular style vent.











Hole for gas cap vent tube to go through



Running the crankcase vent



Loop



Back into airbox. Not how everyone does it, I don’t care, this is how I do it.



Running carb vent, diff vents.





UNI air cleaner going back on, though I was tempted to just throw an OEM on it and keep the UNI for myself.



Convert the headlight plug over from the bullet connectors to a simple weatherpack connector.





Front plastic on. Found a front rack in my stash and a front bumper as well. Still looking for a rear rack.





Vents run up the side of the snorkel riser.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Basketball for floatation, but mostly just for looks.





Almost forgot the T-Case vent





Finally found a decent rear rack



Bottle of goop to fix a slow leak in one tire



Gotta have this on a old school-ish build



Might as well change out this plug



Double check valve on the carb to prevent water from getting in it.



Completed project. $800 into it not a penny more, not counting the brake parts. Runs and drives great. Still smokes. We’ll address that before I sell it.











Thought it would be fun to throw an old school tire and wheel setup on this bike. I’ve been saving these for awhile. USA made Vampire EDL’s and a set of ITP Magnum Billet Wheels. Baddest thing around back in 2001 when they were new. Also running 1” spacers up front and 2.5” on the back. Just temporary though, going back to the stock wheels.









Testing went well.



I forgot to re-install the airbox drain cap. Oops. Just a wet filter, no biggie.
 

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Sorry to anyone running a slow internet connection....lol. Images SHOULD show in the thread but it seems I currently have to click each individually to load them. I will see if they are working in the AM, currently just after midnight here. Later.
 

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I can see everything on tapatalk with my iPhone and crappy WiFi.

I love that thing, it looks fun as crap for $800 bucks, would be even better with some tires in the budget tho. Should have just done a Folgers coffee can mod for the muffler, and I like the homemade drain bolt washer and rear diff vent!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Pics are loading here, this is FUN!!!!

Fabricobles... LOL!!!! I really enjoy learning about new words.

So Mac... are there gonna be anymore "testing" sessions goin' down before its sold? And may we watch 'em? :)
 

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Pics are loading here, this is FUN!!!!

Fabricobles... LOL!!!! I really enjoy learning about new words.

So Mac... are there gonna be anymore "testing" sessions goin' down before its sold? And may we watch 'em? :)
Yep, we have a few things planned. Haven't finished with them yet I'll post a link to the video when it's finished. My buddy bought a 1993 Suzuki 230 quadsport. It's an interesting match up LOL
 

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I can see everything on tapatalk with my iPhone and crappy WiFi.

I love that thing, it looks fun as crap for $800 bucks, would be even better with some tires in the budget tho. Should have just done a Folgers coffee can mod for the muffler, and I like the homemade drain bolt washer and rear diff vent!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I know! I looked and looked for months trying to find a decent set of tires for it within the budget but they were all either sold or way too far away. Those vamps and mag billets were pretty cheap though, I only have about $300 into them.
 

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Yep I can view them like that , nice , I like the way you done that head light bracket , sweet !!!

I just learned about the basket ball trick , never used it yet , buddy was telling me to use it and a heat gun to bend the plastic where you want it , good trick

I think you are right about the rear end being a 85 and judging from the length , I would think it is a ATC250ES as I believe that axle is a bit longer than a 250A Fourtrax by a couple of inches

cool trick making you own crush washer
 

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They load fine on my end, nice!

What's up with the seat cover ?
The seat cover is made of black duck tape....lol
Extra points if that Duct tape (and basketball?) was made in china. LOL

This bike gave redtherocket's ATC a spirited battle in ATV 'O the month... great work Mac, its almost unbelievable that ya only got $800CAD in it! :)
 

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They load fine on my end, nice!

What's up with the seat cover ?
The seat cover is made of black duck tape....lol
Extra points if that Duct tape (and basketball?) was made in china. LOL

This bike gave redtherocket's ATC a spirited battle in ATV 'O the month... great work Mac, its almost unbelievable that ya only got $800CAD in it! :)


Crazy isn’t it. I didn’t cut a few corners on it, I cut every corner lol. It’s fun though, I’ve been driving it around the farm for a few weeks not its working pretty good.


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