A simple guide to help keep your TM Racing machine in perfect condition.
Machine Cleaning and Washing :-
One of the most important and basic parts of bike maintenance is the proper cleaning of your TM Racing machine.
Off-Road machines are subjected to some of the worst conditions possible as far as the care of mechanical components go and although your TM Racing machine is designed to withstand these vigours you can help prolong the life of your machines components by cleaning your TM Racing machine thoroughly using TM UK’s guide to pre-wash, wash and post-wash care which can be found on this section of the site.
Proper cleaning and preparation ensures your TM Racing machine stay looking its best, performs at it’s best and keeps your maintenance costs lower by increasing component life. A clean machine is also much easier to work on and any problems that may be rearing can be identified and rectified much sooner if you can see them occurring.
Please look after your TM Racing machine correctly, please click on the following link to go to the TM UK User Advice section on cleaning your TM Racing machine…
Simple Pre-Race Maintenance Checks :-
Prior to attending any competition event it is advisable to carry out the following procedures, this will ensure the best performance and reliability of your TM Racing machine and operator safety.
CHECK visually over of your freshly cleaned TM Racing machine, this will give you chance to easily identify any damaged components or possible issues that may lead to problems ahead, any damage components or issues should be rectified immediately. For any parts you may require for your TM Racing machine please contact your TM dealer, it may be useful for you to know any part codes or descriptions to help with your order, please click on the following link to see the technical section which contains parts manuals, user manuals and set-up advice on all models manufactured in the last 10 years.
CHECK all of the control levers are functioning correctly, check the throttle operation at all steering angles to be certain that the throttle cable has not been trapped when re-fitting the fuel tank.
NOTE: The throttle assembly, throttle cable and carburetor components relating to the opening and closing of the throttle should be cleaned and inspected periodically, in the case on continually riding in poor conditions it is advised that you perform this task more frequently. Check the condition of all components, including the handlebar surface that the throttle tube must rotate on and the carburetor slide and needle, and replace as required. Lubricate any freshly cleaned components with a light coating of water repellent spray, never apply grease to any components of the throttle assembly. Please ensure that after replacing or cleaning any components that the throttle operates correctly before attempting to start or ride your TM Racing machine. Please refer to your TM Racing user manual for more information.
CHECK the front and rear brake systems for correct operation and inspect the brake pads for wear and the brake discs for any damage or misalignment, check the hydraulic hoses for any signs of damage or possible leakage and check the hose fixing bolts (banjo bolts) for tightness, check the caliper mounting bolts are tight and the condition of the control levers and pivot points, repair as required and do not attempt to ride the machine until the repairs are completed.
NOTE: The rear brake pedal pivots on a steel bush that runs in two needle roller bearings, these will require greasing during routine maintenance schedules also.
CHECK that you have fitted a clean and freshly oiled air filter and that you have drained and cleaned the carburetor, replaced it correctly and have tightened the fastenings.
NOTE: Any air filter with visible damage to the main foam element or it’s seating ring should be discarded immediately, if particles can pass through the filter element and enter the engine this will increase engine component wear and could lead to engine failure.
CHECK the coolant levels, the radiators for leaks and all of the hose connections for the cooling system, if any coolant losses are noted try to find out why this has occurred, is there a leak in the system?, is the machine running excessively hot ?, has the radiator cap been disturbed losing coolant from the filler neck ?. Finding the answer to these questions now could save further problems later on and ensure the correct operating temperatures of you TM Racing machine are maintained correctly.
CHECK the tightness of all plastics and seat fastenings, engine mounting bolts, wheels spindles, swinging arm spindle and suspension linkage components, triple clamp bolts and steering stem nuts, handlebar mountings and control lever fixings, all ancillary components fixings, exhaust system mountings and do not forget to replace your exhaust packing regularly, not only to reduce noise but also to aid performance and allow your TM Racing machine to work as it was intended.
NOTE: On 250cc and 300cc 2-stroke models the expansion chamber (Pipe) is sealed to the engine cylinder by two O’rings, these O’rings are subjected to extreme temperatures and as with any rubber component will deteriorate in these conditions, it is advisable check the conditions of these O’rings regularly and change them as required, this will ensure correct exhaust pressures are maintained and that water and dirt does not enter the cylinder.
CHECK the tyres for wear and for any damage to the carcass, check the bead of the tyre is fully seated onto the rim and that the pressures are correct for your application. Remedy or replace any defective parts immediately and do not attempt to ride the machine until the rectifications have taken place.
CHECK the wheel rims for visible damage and the spokes for tightness, replace any damaged spokes immediately, check the wheels bearings for any excessive ‘play’ and replace immediately if worn, also check the fastenings for the brake discs and sprocket retaining bolts. Replace any defective parts immediately before commencing the next ride of your TM Racing motorcycle.
CHECK the chain and sprocket for excessive wear, any sprockets worn to the point of looking ‘hooked’ should be replaced immediately. It is advised that the chain and sprockets be replaced together, the replacing of individual components (new with old) will only shorten their serviceable life as wear ‘patterns’ are transferred.
CHECK the condition of the footrests, their return springs and the fixing pins and fasteners. Any defective parts must be replaced immediately.
CHECK that your TM Racing machine is has been filled with fresh Super-Unleaded 98 octane fuel. As with any machine that runs a ‘vented’ fuel system fuel deterioration will occur if the machine is left standing for any period, the effective ‘burn’ capabilities of the fuel will be reduced and this can lead to poor starting, bad engine running, poor performance and possibly engine component damage in the form detonation (pinking). On 2- stroke engine powered machines some premix oils also have a tendency to ‘separate’ from the fuel, ensure that any fuel is well mixed (shaken) to agitate and re-distribute the premix oil, poor lubrication will shorten engine component life and could lead to engine damage.
CHECK the oils levels on 4-stroke machines prior to starting, once the engine has been run and has come up to working temperature re-check the levels as per the user guide.
NOTE: It is advisable to change the oil more frequently if the machine is ridden hard for short periods (Motocross races and standing starts) and/or if the operator is using the clutch excessively whilst under significant load. On 2-Stroke machines it is also advised that for Motocross applications the gearbox oil should be changed more frequently, as per the 4-Stroke, due to the fact that the clutch is used more often whilst under significant load and the engine is subjected to standing starts at high rpm’s. Please refer to your user manual for information on the oil changing procedure for your TM Racing machine.
CHECK the operation of the engine and that it is running correctly, avoid high rpm’s on any machine whilst it is sat on the stand with no load on the engine, if you can hear any adverse noises, feel excessive vibrations, the machine seems to be running hot, etc these should be investigated, if a fault is suspected the machine should be examined and repaired immediately before further damage occurs.
NOTE: For 4-Stroke machines featuring and electrical starter device it is advised that when starting the engine from cold the manual kick-starter be used to lessen the stresses on the starter system and battery, a cold (tight) engine will take more power to turn over than a warm engine and increase the demands on the starter motor and its power supply. It is also advised that a ‘intelligent’ battery charger that monitors, conditions and charges your battery be purchased, a feature of these charging systems is a connector system that can be permanently fixed to the battery of your TM Racing motorcycle allowing a quick and easy hook-up to the charger unit without the need to remove the seat. This type of charger will ensure your battery gives you the longest serviceable life and will also tell you if your battery is not holding its ‘charge’ correctly and is likely to fail, a very valuable tool for the competition motorcyclist.
Race Day / Track-side Maintenance :-
During a busy race day schedule the actual aspect of simple bike maintenance can be overlooked and the machine can be neglected aside from being filled with fuel between races, this should not be the case and time must be made for simple routine pre and/or post race examinations of your TM Racing machine. The correct procedures that should be adhered are identical to the ‘Pre-Race Maintenance Schedule’ listed above and most of these checks should be carried out almost immediately after the completion of the race and/or after washing the machine. There is no excuse for poor machine care and with a little time you can find your own unique routine which will allow you to check, condition and service all the areas of your machine covered in the maintenance schedule listed above between races with the minimum of fuss and use of time.
WARNING: Air Filter checks and changes between races must be completed especially when racing in heavy, damp or sandy conditions. A clogged air filter element will not only reduce the performance of your TM Racing machine but could also lead to potential engine failure if the particles are drawn into the working engine. Engine oil levels should also be checked frequently on 4-stroke machines along with the coolant levels on all machines. Simple checks of the fixing and fastenings of the machine and its components must also take place between races and any damage components must be replaced with new. Failure to adhere to these warnings could lead to machine damage and/or injury.
Periodic Scheduled Maintenance :-
It is advised that you keep to the maintenance schedule of the machine components that require periodic maintenance, especially on chassis components that require cleaning, re-greasing or on serviceable items that will require replacing.
Steering head bearings will require inspection, cleaning and re-greasing, and damage or worn components must be changed.
NOTE: To remove any worn bearings and for the fitting of new parts a ‘press’ will be required, if you do not have the the tools required please do not attempt this repair yourself, please contact your TM Racing dealer for assistance.
Bearings and pivot bushes for the swinging arm and suspension linkage components will require strip down and inspection, paying special attention to the needle roller type bearings and the the working surfaces of the pivot bushings. Serviceable bearings can be cleaned and re-greased whereas any damaged or worn bearings must be replaced, likewise the surfaces of the pivot bushings should be smooth, clean and unmarked, any oxidization or pitting on the these working faces indicate wear, any bushings showing these signs of wear should be replaced.
NOTE: Whilst disassembling your TM Racing machines swinging arm and suspension linkage pivot components is must be noted that any excessively warn bearings may collapse upon removal of the pivot bushings, it is therefore advisable to either have spare parts available or give yourself enough time to obtain these from your TM Racing dealer prior to your next event. To remove and replace the bearings a ‘press’ may be required, if you do not have the tools required do not attempt this repair yourself, please contact your TM dealer for assistance.
TM Racing use an O’ring sealing system on the swinging arm and suspension linkage components that is far more reliable than the conventional ‘lipped’ seal design which can be ‘opened’ during pressure washing, in some cases allowing more dirt and moisture to penetrate the bearing surfaces. However, even with this more resilient sealing system the demands placed on an off road machine will eventually and inevitably see dirt ingress occurring, left un-maintained this dirt ingress will decrease the life span of these components.
Brake and clutch fluids should be changed as per the maintenance schedule, in Motocross, or with heavy clutch use applications, it is advised that the clutch fluid be changed more often and the clutch ‘slave cylinder’ hydraulic O’ring be changed more frequently too, the O’rings are easily replaced and are cheap to purchase. It is also advisable to replace the clutch master cylinder hydraulic piston assembly during the racing season, any seals working in the off-road environment are more likely to become damaged from dirt and debris and this factor should be accounted for in your maintenance routines.
Warning: The replacement of brake fluids and subsequent bleeding of the brake system should only be carried out by a qualified technician, if you are not trained in this type of maintenance work please contact your TM Racing dealer for assistance.
Clutch assemblies should be checked regularly, especially for competition use where the clutch is used more frequently under load and for high rpm standing starts.
NOTE: Before removing the clutch inspection cover of your TM Racing machine it is advisable to remove the oil from the engine. Please ensure the engine is sufficiently cool before proceeding with draining the oil or handling internal engine components.
Both the clutch fibre and steels plates should be checked for wear and for any abnormalities, discolouration of the steels plates, indicating a heat build up, will mean that the plates require changing, excessive heat transfer can lead to distortion of the plates causing further clutch ‘drag’, excessive heat can also temper the steel plates limiting their ability to grip the fibre plate reducing clutch ‘hook-up’, this again leads to heat build up and only increases material stresses further.
Wheel bearings, dust seals and general wheel condition should be checked prior to every ride to ascertain they are in good, working and safe condition. Periodic maintenance of the wheel bearings is essential, a broken wheel bearing could not only lead to damage to other components such as the wheel hub, wheel spindles, brake discs, sprockets and more, but could also lead to complete wheel failure and injury, replace any defective parts immediately.
Fork seals and oil replacement is something that is often overlooked, a ‘leaky’ fork seal that has suddenly stopped leaking has more than likely not ‘fixed itself’, it has however allowed ALL of the oil to escape from the fork leg and is now empty. During routing bike cleaning the outer ‘dust-seals’ of the forks can be removed allowing access to the main oil seal area, this will allow you to clean and remove any particles of dirt or sand that have entered between the two seals to be removed increasing main fork oil seal life. A fork seal that is continuously ‘weeping’ must be replaced as the sealing ‘lip’ of the component is obviously damaged.
Warning: The total loss of fork oil will not only cause bad suspension performance but could also lead to the internal parts of the fork being damaged.
The oil in the fork legs is also under continuous working pressure and should be treated as a regular serviceable item, the properties of the oil and its working abilities will deteriorate over time leading to poor suspension performance, it is advised that the oil should be changed more frequently for a machine being used for off-road competition use.
NOTE: The disassembly of the forks, the subsequent removal and refitting of the forks seals and with the Marzocchi forks, the bleeding and pre-loading of the oil bladder will require specialist tools and knowledge, if you are not trained in this type of maintenance work and do not have the correct tools please do not attempt this repair yourself, please contact your TM Racing dealer for assistance.
Chain rollers, chain guide and chain sliders should be be replaced as and when required, a chain guide or chain slipper that is excessively worn could allow the chain to contact the metal surfaces of the machine, this will not only cause damage to the machine components but could also increase chain wear to the point of failure, a broken chain ‘whipping’ through the air can cause serious damage to the machine and injury to the operator.
NOTE: For more technical engine care, maintenance and the replacement of components it is advised that you contact your TM Racing dealer for assistance and service. Items including piston changes, 4-Stroke valve clearances, valve-train and timing chain maintenance and the replacement of parts, con-rod and main bearing replacements and complete engine overhauls should only be completed by a fully qualified and trained TM Racing technician, this will ensure that your TM Racing machine is maintained with genuine TM Racing spare parts and is kept in perfect condition performing at its best.
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