Life Span of a LO206

Well, the end of the season is approaching and I am coming on two years of racing and practice on the motor. Still pulls as hard as when I bought it and it doesn’t seem tired. This is my first 206 motor. They seem like they will go forever. I’m curious as to how long people will run these things before they get a new motor, or block? Do people normally just go with a new motor or buy a head or block and go?

Thanks all

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I have always heard 3 years of racing. I do know of 1 guy that his gave up suddenly, but don’t know how much time was on it. I honestly don’t know if it gave any warning signs, but it was mid race and he seemed pretty shocked.

I had an oil fill plug come out and didn’t know until I hit the scales. I had about an ounce of oil left in it. I just re-filled it and ran it. What else could I do? So far so good.

Get a magnetic drain plug, safety wire your fill plug, use good oil and change it is about all you can do. If you run in the rain, at least check the oil if not change it.

It would be nice buy a new engine complete and keep it as a spare. You can always use the older one on non race weekend if you want to go through the engine swaps, even if you cut the seal and rebuild it. Then you have a bunch of redundancy on spares like ignition, carb and such but you end wanting a mount and pipe to make it easy to swap.

If money is an issue don’t worry and just run it and get some reasonable spare parts.
That is the beauty of the LO206

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Welcome @dirtbikejoe36! I think you reached out to me on the CES page about Blackhawk?

Maintenance wise it can be hard to judge in some ways because one person’s season can be 100 miles and another’s could be 1000.

Having said that, many racers opt to re-do the top end annually as a precaution. The best way to know if it’s time to do that is to perform a leakdown test and listen to see if you’ve got leakage past the valves.

You could also do a compression test, with one caveat, you’ll have to remove the starter recoil and spin the motor with a drill or external starter to get an accurate reading. The 206 (as well as clone and GX) have a compression release that is designed to make starting easier.

Also, here’s some tips from David Klaus himself:


Hey James,
I really wanted to get out to Blackhawk last weekend but got put was told I could be flying out for work on short notice on Sunday (never happened). That series intrigues me very much, So much that if I do get a new motor this off season, I will be turning my current 206 into a true animal. I appreciate the insight on the longevity of the motor. I did a leak down last weekend and couldn’t hear anything and the gauge stayed true.


Let’s start off with what you can replace before you do a “complete” engine. First off is the head. They are around $130 new(not including any prep). This is the most common item to wear out or cause a 206 to loose any amount of power. Cheap and easy to change. Plus you can always have your old one serviced for about 2/3 the price of new.
Second is the short block. Believe it or not, new isn’t always better. The best 206 I ever dyno’d had over 5 full seasons on it!!! These are typically under $300 and are ready to go straight out of the box.

Basically what I’m trying to say is the components(coil, flywheel, covers, intake, carb, etc) of your engine are fine. Why spend extra money for another set of them? Save a few bucks and buy only what’s needed as far as wear items. First of which is the head assembly.

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We laddered a LO206jr up through Animal. We bought it used on a kid kart with a couple of years on it and it was very comparative. I upgraded it to a sportsman by myself and won lots of races over the next two years. I retired it because it was starting to show it was down on power. From there it was upgraded to a animal and has been sprint and road raced for the last two years.

These motor are very durable and as log at you take care of them with regular oil changes and head maintenance they last and remain consistent.

We ran the Cup Kart series and bought a new motor to start the season and about halfway through it lost something. We don’t know what but it is not the same, aside from the relief valve broke. We rented a motor for two races and ended up buying a ‘built’ motor for more than list. The built motors all ran great but I am irritated by the increase of cost of the ‘higher’ level racing. I suppose if I had advanced mechanical skills I would build the motors myself but I don’t.

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When running club races only we ran the first one for 3 years before freshening up the head. Now that we are running regionals and one off “national” level races we will freshen up at least once a year. This will be simply having the head looked over and replace any parts that need it. Worst case, which we just had, replace the head. Either way you are coming out ahead by a few hundred by not buying a new set up.

Check your valve lash every weekend and if the valves are getting tight, the seats are going and head needs to be done. Worst case you let it go too long and you get carbon in the intake. Don’t ask how I know :roll_eyes:

If you buy new, you don’t have to spend a ton. Many are being sold a bill of goods that has you forking out $1200. A good shop can set up one out of the box for less and it’ll run with any out there that play in the grey area. Happens every weekend. People win championships with them too :slight_smile: